My four year-old just told me that her very liberal, uber-crunchy, 100 percent woo-woo Waldorf kindergarten has a rule — no kissing in school. She’s heartbroken. Siena LOVES to kiss. She kisses everyone — and makes their day. We lip kiss, cheek kiss, butterfly kiss, Eskimo kiss — you name it. She loves kissing so much that last year, when we went to a benefit concert where 100 people were sitting in chairs in neat little rows, she started at the back, climbing on the laps of each person to give them a kiss and a hug, before crawling onto the next chair and kissing and hugging the next person. After they were kissed and hugged by my magical child, people wept. I mean seriously wept. While I watched her, open-mouthed, she finished hugging and kissing the whole audience, and I told her it was time to go. It was past her bedtime. She looked at me with wide eyes and said, “No Mama. They need more.” And she went to the back and started all over again.
I was floored. I’m raising Amma. Holy shit.
But now she can’t kiss at school. Amma is being thwarted. Love is being withheld. The lesson that we need to tone down our natural instinct to express love is being instilled at the delicate age of four. Damn.
I was just like Siena when I was young. Very loving. Very cuddly. Very affectionate. In fact, when I started college at Duke University, I went to fraternity parties and hugged everyone — the girls, the boys — indiscriminately. If you were some new person I had never met before, I hugged you. It’s just who I am.