A long time a go, I remember giving my son a hug. It was 2006 or 2007. Not sure of the date or month, or even the year, but I remember him smiling up at me in return very clearly. I said to him, “ I know you want to hug me back but you cant.” Fast forward to a couple of days a go Adam was running after Dawud wanting to give him a hug with his arms wide open. Dawud was running away from his hug. It’s a very common occurrence in our house. One of them wants to hug the other and the other runs away saying, “no, get away from me I don’t want a hug.” Their father was there too. I guess the open arms of his three year old were too hard to resist, or maybe he also remembered the same day I remembered. He called Adam and said I want a hug. He came running and gave his dad a hug. Then I asked for a hug. He came to me. As he wrapped his little arms around me I remembered how much I wanted this. How much I missed this with my oldest who wasn’t with us. In that moment I felt like he was right there. That was his hug. That hug from that day when he couldn’t wrap his arms around me when I hugged him. That hug from that day when Ismail, smiled at me and I said, “I know”. That was my hug. That’s smile he gave me, I didn’t know it then but I get it now. I know what it meant. He told me so much. I get all of it now. He knew so much more than I did.
This isn’t the first time my children have hugged me. This isn’t the first time I have thought about how badly I wanted Ismail to hug me back. This isn’t the first time that I have been thankful for having children who can hug me back.
This is the first time, however, I have seen Ismail in Adams hug. This is the first time I have seen Ismail in his smile and somehow known that he is feeling hugged and loved. That this love wrapped up in all its wonders is reaching him and his eyes are twinkling just like Adam and Dawud’s and he is smiling even wider than he did that day when I hugged him. He is saying, “I told you so”. He is saying, “I have it all, and guess what mom? So do you.”
So, there it is another big moment. All this made me realized that maybe this is the time that Adam is ready to hear about his big brother. Am I ready to tell him? I never thought it would be something that I would need to put so much thought into. I though it would just be something that would happen naturally and seamlessly. But it’s turning out to be a little more emotional. The emotions are not just mine. The emotions Im concerned about are also my children’s. Until I had them I just thought about myself, and how I would feel talking about Ismail. I couldn’t imagine what it would really feel like to tell real live little people about their big brother and why he’s not with them. Now I imagine their little faces when they hear about him and the questions, oh the questions. The questions don’t make me sad, the questions make me laugh just thinking about them. I can hear them in my head right now. I have no idea how to even begin to answer those. I know Dawud would just want to get away from us and go play and the pictures of the child he would just assume is himself; what can I tell you. That one is a narcissistic little boy. His only brother is Adam, he is not going to accept anything else until much much much later. But Adam’s questions… Maybe Ill wait just a little bit longer.
For now, Ill settle for those hugs and kisses that go above and beyond. Those “I love you’s” that come out of the blue and make it all better until you realize it wasn’t out of the blue at all. No, it was because they decided to mix the rice and flour on the floor kitchen and make coffee with it in their little pretend cups. Ill still take it though, because you know what? They are here and they are doing all these crazy things that drive me insane, that Ismail isn’t doing that I wish like crazy that he were. So, Ill take it all. Ill take the guilt hugs then clean up the mess and, then lecture them on how that’s not how coffee is made and, then drink the pretend coffee and call it a day. Well, at least hope to call it a day.