After Friday came Saturday. Another day for the record books.
Saturday afternoon found four of us poolside while Matthew participated in a swimming lesson. The younger kids were waiting for their lesson to start. Seth had been on Geoff's or my lap most of the previous half hour, and Seth and I had had a great conversation about his belly button and umbilical cords, and the care and protection that a birth mommy provides to her unborn child as a result of that umbilical cord. I told him that I loved his belly button because it reminded me of his first mommy and how much she loved and took care of him.
A few moments later, Seth said that he wanted Geoff and me to kiss. We obliged him. :) Then Seth, kneeling on my knees facing me, told me that he wondered what it would be like to kiss me. I asked this boy who has refused to kiss me if he would like to try.
"No," he said. "That's gross. But I wonder what lips feel like sometimes."
Geoff and I generally kiss the kids on the cheek, but whatever - if Seth was interested in kissing of any sort, well, that was just incredible news to me.
"Well," I said touching various parts of my face with my fingertips and then stroking the soft side of my jaw bone. "I think that this part of my face might feel as soft as lips. Did you want to kiss right there and see?"
Seth stared. Deliberately, he tucked his lips as far inside his mouth as they would go and bent towards me. He touched the place I'd pointed to with the skin around his lips and I looked in amazement over his shoulders at Geoff, who appeared as shell-shocked as I was that Seth was basically kissing my cheek.
Seth leaned back and then tucked his lips in again and mouthed the other side of my cheek by my jaw. Then he did the same to my chin.
Suddenly, I felt lips. He'd unfurled them and had placed them on my cheek. No kissing sound, just a pressing of softness against softness. I tried hard to stop the tears that formed in my eyes, knowing that they might freak him out. Then he moved over to the other side and laid his lips on my other cheek. Then on my forehead. Then back to the first cheek, and this time he made a little kissing noise.
I looked over to Geoff again to see if he saw what was happening and we exchanged silent depths of emotion.
He continued. Then, to my shock, he moved in and very gently and briefly touched my lips with his. He went back to my cheek and forehead, then again to my lips, kissed my nose, my neck, and up the side of my jaw.
I just held on to him. Held him as close as I could while he knelt on my lap, now holding my face in his hands while he kissed it all over. I'm sure others might have been watching this strange interaction, but I couldn't have cared less.
It was the first time in the 21.5 months Seth has been home that he has volunteered this kind of caress - I could feel the love radiating from his gentle touch, could feel his heart opening up.
He leaned back and looked at me. No hiding this time. "I like kissing you now, Mommy," he said. No problem getting these words out...such a difference from just the day before.
I worked hard to keep the quaver out of my voice. "I like when you kiss me, too, Seth. Thanks." It came out casually.
A few seconds later, it was time for Seth's and Lizzie's swimming lessons. Seth started to run towards the pool, and then turned back. He ran back to me with a smile, gave me a quick kiss on the lips, then joyfully went to meet his teacher, skipping all the way. My heart echoed his footsteps!
And still there's more.