Sometimes at end of a day and I’m just tired of being touched.
Arms around my neck, tiny hands clinging to my shirt, a tiny head rested on my leg, a small mouth pulling at my breast for milk, several sets of hand hug me, my husband comes home from work and kisses me, and it all makes me want to find a cozy burrow to hide in. I always thought I had an incredibly small personal space bubble, but all of this can sometimes start scraping the bottom of a barrel that I had once thought was bottomless. I have been temped the last few months to think that all this was just a meaningless expense of energy that I didn’t have. Any of this sound familiar?
I have recently been BOMBARDED with encouragement that the act of touching is on of the most important gifts I can be giving as mother. Many you know I have a group of moms that meet here once a month. We talk about the challenges of motherhood and the ways we can embrace this and rejoice in it as a calling. We have been going through the book “A Life Giving Home” and this past month we were discussing the power of touch toward our babies, and how they by design require large amounts of time and touch. That to fight giving our time, is to fight a losing battle. The best thing to do is to embrace this as a phase of life and lavish the love and time on them that they require. One of the moms from our group posted a article (here) that had been done by a neurologist. The mother in the article was doing MRI scans of herself and her baby as she held the baby. The article talked about the way that a mother’s touch lights up the centers of a baby’s brain, and is part of what allows a baby to learn and have good brain development.
Less than a week later, I was at care group and one of the women was talking about how much hairdressers and masseuses in her salon complained about how much people open up and talk to them. She said, “I guess when your physically touching an individual in a soothing way, it’s impossible for them not to feel like they have a connection with you.” Bells and whistles started going off all over the place for me.
It may not be a coincidence that Keaton’s favorite days are the ones where I “forget” to make my bed, and we all pile in. Maybe that is the reason that memories of piling into bed and talking about what we dreamed the night before are some of my favorite of childhood. What if I just took a little more time to snuggle today? I can’t help but wonder,if we wouldn’t all be just a little bit happier.
What if the influence I hope to have over my children is developed by this act of pouring out loving touch toward them. What if I start now to have soothing times of cuddles and connection. What if rather than viewing this as a needless expenditure of energy, I see it as a vital part of development of mind and character. What if I start today with back rubs and talking time that forges a bond that will last when they are older and we can share heart secrets. Perhaps babies are just a little bit more honest about what we all need deep down. To be held a little longer, a little closer, and to have our heart heard and understood.