Due to oral motor issues Rhema is still not able to blow out the candles on her birthday cake or blow bubbles, or pucker or purse her lips.
Thus, the Rhema-kiss has been a long time in the making and it is yet another celebrated gift.
Because somewhere along the way she got it that this a way we show affection. It wouldn’t be her first choice. She used to be as hard to hold on to as a wet bar of soap. She felt trapped and confined if we tried to hug her and squirmed away from touch and any kind of closeness.
A couple years ago she began pressing her face against mine for just a moment.
These days her kisses are very deliberate. She puts her lips on my cheek and kind of just hangs out there, taking in big gulps of air, inhaling and exhaling through her mouth.
Usually I can’t help but giggle. It’s just about the funniest, sweetest thing ever.
The other evening my mother came to visit us, and before she left she took Rhema’s hand and kissed it. In turn, my daughter took my mother’s hand and gave it her open-mouthed-hyperventilating kiss.
And we turned into a big pile chocolate mush on the floor.
It’s one of those things I thought I would miss out on because of autism and apraxia. It’s one of those things that’s turned out to be far better, more meaningful than I could have ever imagined.
That this dear child loves us. That she wants to show us. That she finds a way to show us. No words necessary. Just some slurp and heavy breathing.
I can’t believe I get to get a Rhema-kiss every day. She makes me feel like the most blessed mama.