Letter to my grandson (xxviii)

Dear Winton,

I have written quite a lot of about some of my favourite photographs of cuddles.

This will probably always be my favourite photograph of us for reasons that are probably completely obvious from looking at it but which still amaze me. Your mum took it the day after you were born.

GPT and WInton

This is one of you and your Nana not long after.

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I like to think that you are laughing at one of my jokes in this one.

Gp and W barber shop copy

I like this next one because of the beautiful expression on your face but also because it was from a time when cuddles were pretty hard to come by. You were a remarkably active little boy and never still for very long so cuddles like this were a rare occurrence.

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This one is a lovely shot of you and your Nana and perhaps more indicative of the combination of wriggle and a cuddle that typified your very early years.

Coffee with ND 3

This is you last Christmas giving second cousin Ned a cuddle. You two guys really hit it off in a big brother/little brother sort of way

Hugging Ned

There was certainly a level of exuberance in your affection and your cuddles had a fair element of the crash tackle but Ned didn’t seem to mind.

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But I have been thinking lately how your cuddles have become more nuanced as you have got older.

There is the Level One Cuddle. This is the “I haven’t had cuddle this morning Winton cuddle”.  It’s a quick squeeze followed by a wriggle that says, “Put me down, I have important dinosaur stamping and/or fire-fighting to do.”

Then there is the Level Two Cuddle.  This is the “early morning greeting cuddle” and accompanies the hide-and-go-seek for Nana Di.  It also includes a fair bit of wriggling but of the “whatever you do, don’t let go of me” kind. It concludes with a transfer cuddle to Nana Di.  A variant of the Level Two Cuddle is the  “monster/Nana/Papa/ is after me cuddle”.

The Level Three Cuddle is the “end of the day good-bye cuddle” when your dad has come to pick you up and Nana is carrying you out to the car. It is a little bit sad and there are lots of kisses and attempts to persuade Nana to get into the car with you. But you now understand what “See you tomorrow ” means.

The Level Four Cuddle is the “just woken up cuddle.” You often have an afternoon sleep when you are round here.  When you wake up you sit up in bed, call out and wait to be picked up. You wake up very slowly there is always a very long, slow cuddle that goes with the process.  It is a beautiful time of day.

The Level Five Cuddle is the cuddle your Nana gives a little boy who is standing alone and tearful at day care, who reaches up to be held and won’t let go until he knows he is going to be safely strapped into his pusher and on his way home to Nana and Papa’s house.

But you’re also growing up, more confident, more self-assured every day.

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Sadly, the days of cuddles are limited.

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