Body space. It’s a concept that seems foreign to my 6 year old at times. He’s been attending Behaven Kids for over a year now, and it’s still something he struggles with. He seems to have this constant need to be touching someone, or sitting right next to them. He doesn’t seem to know that he has a bubble, and others around him have a bubble, and he needs to respect the bubble. They have started to focus on this more over the past few weeks as we are getting him ready to start Kindergarten this fall, and while he’s made some progress, he’s still got a lot of work to do.
I first noticed that he had no regard for body space within the first couple of weeks that he lived with us. I was out to eat with a friend for lunch, and both of us had our kiddos with us. Because Noah had very experiences eating out in public at a restaurant, everything around us was very fascinating.
At the table directly next to ours were two older ladies enjoying their lunch. Noah must have noticed them, because once he finished eating, he hopped out of my lap and ran over to the ladies. Once over to their table, he just hopped up into one of the laps of the ladies and began to babble. (he didn’t talk at this point, but boy did he have a story to share with her!) Now this is the moment where the embarrassed mother in me came out. I began to apologize profusely to lady and tried to explain to her the situation that I was in and how I was sorry that my child had no concept of body space or manners in social situations such as these.
I’ll never forget her reply to me though, “I have watched you this whole time with your son. You have been so patient with him and he is such a sweet boy. He is very lucky to have you as a mom.” She then went on to talk how her grandchildren live so far away and what a treat it was to have him jump up into her lap and talk to her.
What a relief I felt to hear her tell me that. For those of you reading this who are parents, you know what it is like when you are in public and your child does something that is totally out of the norm of our social culture. It’s embarrassing, and in those moments you wonder what horrible things people around you are thinking when your child does that! I wanted him to sit still at the restaurant, and definitely not to jump up into that woman’s lap and just start babbling incoherently!
How many of us reading with this struggle with body space? Some of us may not have a personal bubble and share every single little that happens to us and make really big deals out of such small things. And there are some of you out there, (like me) who keep a little too much personal space. Sure I may share a few details with you with what I am struggling with, but when it comes down to it, I’m not really willing to open up too much for fear of judgement or what others may think of me.
God calls us to share our body space with us. That can be a hard thing to do, especially for those of us that have been hurt by those with whom we have had deep meaningful relationships in the past. But it’s not impossible to overcome those hurts and continue to share with those around us.