Mongolia taught me to kiss.
Shocker, I know; especially with my anti-hug policies and adoration of personal space.
Touchy, I am not!
But when you’ve got kids thrown into your life and communication is accomplished through action, primarily; limiting one’s self to awkward smiles and waves is a bit ridiculous.
Wrestles, races, dutch blitz and good night snuggles lend themselves to love, when the language barrier is thick.
So now I’ve had some practice.
Kids club and foster homes were especially good for that.
After spending a few months and weeks wiping snot off my shoulder and watching for cooties in smoky-smelling hair (ger districts are not known for cleanliness), kissing shiny clean faces good-night on this side of the world not only seems pretty nice, but is my favourite part of the babysitting deal I have at the house where my cousins live.
I want my extravagant kisses to show extravagant love.
And tonight, I think of the squirts across the world who taught me to give it up and smother kisses on any kid within reach – just because I could – as I dance full-on with the 5 kiddos in my care this night. Because I can.
Tonight, the caffeine kicks in at just the right moment. As movie credits roll and music flairs, we have fun.
The 7 year olds are ecstatic: The snuggle party turned dog-pile, turned tickle turned wrestle turned dance.
And I? I don’t dance.
Mr. 12 Years groans, grins, and says “What will the neighbours think” as he races to open the curtains to show off to the world. He is delighted.
Even oh-so-serious Mr. E can’t keep it in. His beaming face betrays him when I catch, carry, and swirl him around the kitchen for an extra-long turn.
The other 2 Sevens need no encouragement as they monkey around in minor disbelief. “I’m pretty sure we’re supposed to be in bed,” you can almost hear them thinking.
Miss 13 calmly observes from her corner lounge chair. That is, until she is tackled by us rambunctious ones.
Anna doesn’t dance party.
But Anna doesn’t kiss, either.
Tonight I made a memory. I hope my cousins did too.
I want my actions to be bold and declaring, leaving an overwhelming, overflowing dose of love.
But mostly, as I spend time in each room and give a single kiss here and a smattering of them there, I think to myself
it is good.
It is good to love.
I’m glad I learned to give kisses.