Put Your Hands in the Moment
Throat and ear infections had served up my child over a week of pain. A ruptured eardrum made it almost unbearable. She braved the infections with painkillers and antibiotics while I was 1400 miles north of her. A few days after I arrived home, I sat on the sofa next to her. She put her head in my lap, and I gently moved my hand on her head, smoothing her hair while my other hand touched her arm.
That moment, my hands in the moment, opened my eyes once again to what matters—family, closeness, touch. That moment, my hands in the moment, also again opened my eyes and heart to the realization that our children are always our children. The same child who placed her head on my lap I loved nuzzling when she was a baby, her milky kitten scent awakening my own senses and filling me with delight. That child is now twenty-five years old and her milky kitten scent is long gone. What isn’t long gone is the instinctual need for parent and child to connect.
When our children are infants, toddlers, and preteens, we touch, soothe, and hug them so often that we cannot count the ways. As they get older, recognizing their individuality and desire to wean themselves from our constant care, in our culture, we often minimize or even stop regular touch. We may stop, but the need doesn’t stop. The desire to connect with our children, no matter what their age, doesn’t stop. The comfort of touch and the love it expresses don’t stop.
As I, too, have reached a certain age, I often touch, soothe, and hug my young grandchildren. My child’s head on my lap and my hands in the moment remind me that my adult children—and I—also benefit from hands in the moment.