When I was a child I was very uncomfortable with physical affection. But my mom was always a very physically affectionate person. So she would always be trying to hug me, cuddle me, hold my hand, kiss me, etc. I didn’t like cuddling, I didn’t let her hold my hand, and I was very physically withdrawn. Every single time she kissed me on the cheek, I had to wipe it off. She told me that once she came to check on me while I was asleep, and kissed my cheek, and I wiped it off in my sleep.
I was like this with everyone, not just her. However she definitely tried the most. And I always fought back. It was verbally too. She was constantly saying “I love you,” and I wouldn’t say anything back. Then she would ask “do I say ‘I love you’ too much?” And I would say “YES!” And she would laugh and keep saying it.
And it’s not that I didn’t love her, of course. I have always loved her more than anything! I just had very different ways of showing it. And that was frustrating for both of us. My mom wanted me to be more physically affectionate, and I wanted her to realize that I express my affection in different ways.
But my mom was very funny about it. She would say, like it was a competition, “one day I’m gonna make you love me!” And she would sing to me “I’m Gonna Make You Love Me” by the Supremes & The Temptations. She changed the lyrics to add my name, and she would be singing, “I’m gonna get ya, I’m gonna get ya, look out Laura, I’m gonna get ya, I’m gonna make you love me!”
I remember walking to school with her in Kindergarten, and her singing this to me, chasing me down the street as I refused to hold her hand. And I would be giggling. It was really funny.
I don’t know why I was like this. I’m not sure if I ever outgrew it either. I am very, very, very sensitive to affection and especially physical touch. I think I feel it stronger than most people, that it activates more neurons in my body and my brain than normal people, and I have an overreactive nervous system. It doesn’t mean I’m cold or incapable of love, it definitely does not mean I didn’t love my mom! I realize this is hard for people to understand but it means a lot to me when people understand that everyone functions differently and we all feel and communicate in different ways.
I am glad my mom always knew I loved her, that she never forced me to be different. I can understand how I may have frustrated her, but she really had great humor about it. I think she was very amused.
Well, now my mom is in a nursing home and it’s going to be a while until I can see her in person again due to COVID. The other night I had a dream that I was begging her to kiss me on the cheek. And she did.
Here is the song she always sang to me…