Something I’ve always believed to be important is that at the start of a young age a child should feel what it’s like to be loved. They should experience love and affection from their family and know what it feels like to be nurtured. As a little girl my grandpa was always someone who would show his family how much he loved and cared about them. He would hug everyone close, smile lovingly at us, and show in the warm twinkle in his eyes just how much he cares about people.
He passed away fourteen years ago and to this day I still remember everything about him, as if his life never ended and he’s still present with me in this very moment. As a little girl with brown twirling curls, I was always given the type of affection that every grandchild should be given: I was hugged tightly, I was adored, and my little cheeks always had kisses on them, precisely four (two on each). Kisses weren’t just given to me out of affection but given to me to create a strong memory I carry with me now that he has passed away; a story I can’t help but share:
The tale took place at an airport, outside of baggage claim where I arrived with my mother and brother on our trip to visit my grandma and grandpa. We stood in the bright sunlight waiting for my grandpa to drive up and escort us to his house, where grandma would be anxiously waiting. The airport would become a parking lot as we stood hoping the next car in line would be for us. Finally a Buick approached and grandpa jumped out to greet us with a beaming smile. He approached my mother first, hugging her closely, telling her how happy he his to see her. Then he smiled at my brother, told him how much he’s missed him, and gave him his biggest grandson hug. At last it’s my turn. Grandpa beamed as his eyes touched mine. He walked over to me, squeezed me tightly, and said, “Sophieka! How many kisses?” “Four”, I replied enthusiastically, and he proceeded to give me two on my left cheek and two on my right cheek, as he continued to embrace me.
Every time I would visit my grandpa he would always ask me “How many kisses?” Each time I would respond with the same answer: four. Then one day I changed my answer: “Sophieka, how many kisses?” “Three.” it was like the world paused, just for a moment, as my grandpa took in the change. “That’s not enough!” he shouted, and started to give me a bunch of a kisses.
It’s important for a little girl to feel loved and that she matters and means something to people. I definitely knew that my grandpa loved me and feel lucky to have been a granddaughter to such a caring man. I only hope that other children (and adults too because it really doesn’t matter what age) experience what it’s like to be adored and show compassion. The smallest thing as a little kiss on the cheek can make all the difference to a child and who they grow up to be.