Today at the park, a twelve or thirteen year-old-ish girl sits on the ground and leans back onto the chest of her mom, who is sitting against a brick wall.
Together, they watch a younger boy play. Facial resemblance tells me he is the younger brother. The girl and her mom smile at him, and interact sometimes. When he is off doing his own thing, they talk gently to each other. But mostly, they just sit in silence as companions.
As they sit there, the mom runs her hands along the insides of the girl’s arms. Clearly something she likes.
So familiar with one another. So comfortable. So affectionate. Clearly something done all the time.
There’s no awkwardness between them, no resentment stirring up.
The gestures are completely unfamiliar to me. I am almost caught staring.
I want to say:
How do you raise a daughter so she stays with you like that?
How do you keep affection and not replace it with rolled eyes and slammed doors?