She would always add, “Mommy loves you.” We would try to get away pretend-like, subconsciously knowing that we didn’t want to be moved from her presence. She gave us lots of hugs and a lot of attention.
You know, the apple doesn’t fall from the tree, and as the oldest apple, I baby-talk my children. I touch and hug them and hold hands with them and make a connection with them. I know in this time of child molestation and all manner of debauchery, as a rule, you cannot go around touching everybody’s kids, but why not yours?
My children — and your children that come into my presence and develop a connection with me as their elder — are going to get a touch from me. I will kiss them on the tops of their foreheads, I will cup their faces and look into their eyes, I will laugh and giggle with them, hold their hands, ask them what is wrong, give them a high-five for a good grade or a good decision and listen and connect.
For those few seconds or minutes that they are near me, they are heard and they are seen. I love it, and I can see that they are hungry for it. A touch.
Being a parent is one of the hardest jobs you will ever love. If you understand that parenting
does not come with a manual and that there will be many times when we just flat-out get it wrong, you can move through the experience with ease.
As parents and caregivers, we are so busy running from work, to dropping off or picking up, to home, to cooking dinner, to checking homework, to making sure everyone has had a shower, that we often fail to connect in this tactile manner with our children.
There is something to be said for just being in your child’s presence that gives them the feeling that you really care — that you “see them.”
When was the last time you hugged your son, your daughter or your grandchild and just sat with them and talked to them about what interests them? To be seen and heard and touched is a powerful connection that validates children into the belief that they are fabulous.
I recall a study on premature babies and how touch has proven to be helpful to their growth. Touch allows the brain to receive its innate need for love, security and affection. It allows the brain to build the trust necessary for a healthy relationship.
Hold and rock and cuddle your children while you can. One day, they will do the same for you.
• Yolande Barial is a Tracy resident and mom. She is among a select group of local residents with columns in the Tracy Press.