Vying for my attention became a constant and fierce rivalry between my two children. No matter how hard I tried to equalize my time, it was a fight to make up for the weeks they were denied while I underwent treatment for oral cancer. We would start an art project, and while I was admiring one, the other would take my head and physically turn it in their direction. When we turned up some music and danced in the living room, my arms were pulled in both directions, with the constant cry, ‘It’s my turn.’ When we would bake, the spoon would end up on the floor after the push and pull.
The two of them are only 18 months apart. Jeremy is older but like most girls who mature faster than boys, Elena continually measured her skills against her brother’s. When Jeremy would practice reading, she would call out the word he struggled to pronounce. When he learned how to ride a bike, she was pedaling right behind him. When a question was asked of him, she was quick to shout the answer. The rivalry was relentless.
One day, I decided to use their competitive nature to my advantage.
The familiar lips that loved to smother my five-year old with kisses were changed. Rather than welcome the physical expressions of my love, she shied away from me. How could I blame her.
I thought of a little competition we three could play: The Smallest Kiss In the World. Jeremy went first. He held my face gently between his hands, took his time moving in closer to my cheek and then he kissed me ever so softly.
“Hmm,’ I said, “Could that be the smallest kiss in the world?”
“Let me try,” Elena cried out. She took my head in her hands more like a football, angled my face just where she wanted it. I heard a kiss, but it was virtually undetectable, side-stepping every single nerve ending at the root of the tiniest hairs on my cheek.
“Too big,” I dramatically proclaimed, “Jeremy did a better job than that.”
“What?” she said. “Wait, let me try again.”
She became invested in the challenge to win the game. This simple competition was the spark that put us on the road to recovery. Who could have imagined the smallest kiss in the world would turn out to be the biggest gift in the universe.
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So ingenious. So courageous. So much love. Thank you for sharing and caring. Beautiful Eva.
What a charming story to start my day! My life is better because of the advice you freely offered me several years ago when dealing with my own health scare. I will always be grateful to you. I look forward to more as you share your gift of sensitive, insightful stories.
Suzanne, When I offered support when you needed it, you were a gift to me, allowing me to feel like I make a difference. So, I thank YOU!
I taught children in grades 1-4 over the 36 years I spent in the classroom. I very often had to come up with creative ideas to help my students learn. One problem I needed to find a solution to was the day an adorable little girl was brought to my classroom from Budapest, Hungary. She didn’t speak a word of English! I had visited Budapest back in 1973 when my girlfriend and I traveled through Europe for two summers during the beginning of our teaching careers. The next day I brought all the pictures I had from Budapest and some items I still had from so many years ago. Immediately, we formed a bond from her knowing I was in her hometown. I then enlisted the students in my second grade class to be my helpers. Everyday on the play yard, I assigned two students to teach her a few words. In the afternoons, I would reinforce those words with her. Sylvia was very bright and she picked up the language very quickly. I met her a few years ago. She is a child psychologist in a school district nearby, and she still remembers learning English on the play yard everyday!
Eva your story has touched my life and family. I challenge my kids to give me the smallest kiss in the world and it now is something each of them try to win. Fact is I love it as they are kissing their momma which makes my day.
Yea! A kiss, is a kiss, is a kiss. Making it fun is just as good! Savor the moments Misty. As your daughter grows up, the opportunities will diminish.