Do you remember?

When I picked you up, you asked me not to touch you.

“I’m not a huggy person,” you mumbled.

I drove you to the mall and bought you a CD. I didn’t know that it was the wrong thing to do. How differently this story might have turned out if we’d gone to a museum instead.

Back at home, we made lasagna for dinner and watched a movie. Your laughter was like music.

You spent the night on our futon, and in the morning you refused our chocolate chip waffles.

“Too sweet,” you said.

You were what, 16? You wore girly clothes and sneakers. You already knew your limits well and stayed away from your fences. I admire your awareness.

I tried to braid your hair in a zig-zag pattern, but I wasn’t yet a mom. I had no clue how to braid. I’m sorry.

We drove you home and waved goodbye as you went inside, not touching, not making future plans.

I failed you.

Your fences felt like brick walls to me and I didn’t try to climb them. You had my heart but I was scared of your fear and your anger. Your not-hugs felt like punishments and I’ve never liked to be punished.

So years passed and I wished things were different. I still refused to learn to climb.

You’re older now and I think I see your bricks beginning to crumble. I see the glimpses of light showing through the cracks. Maybe you’re lonely inside those walls. I’m going to build a fence of my own next to yours, almost but not quite touching. I’m going to share your cracked brick wall.

Let’s not hug, just hang out. Let’s laugh some more. It will be fun.