Saturdays Are For Stories

An Addiction

I have an addiction. Hold your “tsk, tsk, tsk” and listen. I’ve earned that much. It is a little embarrassing, but I’m trying to be strong. Patience on your end would help. So, I’m…uh….I’m….addicted to….cheeks – specifically my daughters’ cheeks. Those adorable rosy cushions of flesh framed in dimples and delight are so inviting I just can’t help it. I need to pinch.

And here is my (our) problem. I’m compulsive about this. I’ve tried soft pinches, thumb less pinches, long-distant pinches, fishy pinches, violin pinches, 1/2 pinch, pointer/middle finger pinch, pinkie pinch, tootsie twist, holesey pinch, butterfly pinch, sweet-n-sour pinch, touch of love pinch, snaggle pinch, two-4-one pinch, pinch around the world, sit up and pinch me, texture pinch (velvet, satin or silk mostly), roll the cheek like dough pinch, cuddle pinch, and many others. Sadly, I found that none of these softer methods satisfies like an old fashioned, jaws of life, clamp down, twist until it brands, demarcations that scar for life pinch. This one pinch soothes the inner being of my soul.

I need, at minimum, five pinches per child per day. If nothing else, I need one round right out of bed, another to top of breakfast, the third to keep me going at midday, a dinner delight and finally, a bedtime tuck-in. Sadly, other people started complaining about the “welts” on their face. “Welts!?!” I would exclaim looking to see where they were pointing. “Oh – that. That’s…..” tapering off into indiscernible mumbling.

Recently I’ve noticed a strange change in their behavior. The first time Charis went to the dentist she cried, screamed, and threw a tantrum almost to the point of being accused of having a seizure. Now she begs to go to the dentist. “Oh please Daddy – its so much fun having my teeth drilled!” Not sure what that means. Whenever I get home and assume the cheek pinching posture the girls climb up on chairs and assume the dentist position – hands white-knuckling the arms tearing into the fabric, tears silently streaming down their cheeks; I even heard Naomi humming taps as I slowly approached her while Rebekah was harmonizing with 2001: A Space Odyssey. I’m no math genius, but there may be a connection.

Of course it can’t be me. It must be Aunt Edna’s pinches that are causing all this torment. At least that was what I thought until last night when I awoke to torrid screams of terror. Rebekah had a nightmare. “What is it baby?” I asked. I never got an answer. One sight of me and Rebekah covered her cheeks with her hands ducking under her blankets. “I right daddy. No pinchy cheeks – I a’right.” Sigh – I hate it when they grow up.

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