Last Saturday I spoke at a women’s retreat with some of my closest friends.
Kelley told a story about her teenage son, that completely cracked me up, she told the ladies how she had her son convinced, right until the end of primary school that ‘Kiss and Drive’ the drop off point at the front gate of the school was exactly that.
She explained as her son grew older, she felt him start to inch away from him and physical touch became ‘uncool, unwanted and definitely not at the school gate’.
She told him though, that it was the rules. He could not leave the car until he kissed her every morning.
In highschool he became a little wiser and could not believe that she had fooled him for so many years.
As I walked away from this story and the women’s retreat, I had these words ringing in my heart.
Coupled with this story, I had read an article on the internet that week as well, about toddler tantrums and how to combat them.
The psychologist was preposing, that physical touch was one of the best ways to counteract toddler tantrums and quickly bring sanity to the moment.
Enter my current reality.
I have a two and a half year old and a three week old.
I have noticed my son Maximus, starting to respond a lot more emotionally to situations in the last week and so I did what was current and increased the hugs in our household.
One lunchtime he sat at his highchair exhausted, crying for no real reason…
Just at the end of his emotional capacity.
I grabbed a chair, sat behind him and just hugged him. I held him for more than 20 mins.
I held him and he did not want to let me go.
This week I have found myself hugging my husband more.
Holding my baby closer to my chest.
Pulling my family in, to counteract the transition of the season.
Just the thought of touch, has been almost dirtied in our contemporary times, with Dads not knowing whether they will be judged for intimacy with their children, Mum’s so busy that slowing their family down one hug at a time is complex.
Family intimacy has been relegated to quiet whispers, hoping not to be criticised for our public displays of affection.
I am determined to be a Mum that extends physical expressions of my love to my family as often as I can.
Without fear of condemnation.
As my son grows older, I am going to increase not decrease holding him.
If I am feeling frustrated with my toddler I am going to hug him.
If I am feeling far away from my husband because he is working hard for our family, I am going to hold him when he arrives home from work, expressing my thanks without words.
Late at night when my newborn is fussing and unable to sleep, I am going to kiss her head and snuggle into her smell, holding her close in this season, to bring comfort and calm.
My natural desire is to pull away and want to regroup by myself, but in the midst of hard times physical touch brings comfort and I am determined to surrender to it.
I must admit I am not a natural hugger. I sometimes feel awkward when people launch themselves at me, not sure whether to hug, shake hands or kiss on one cheek or two.
I want to fight against this awkwardness though, in the knowledge that our society is crumbling out of loneliness and disconnection. Whether we like the feeling or not, physical touch. Safe physical touch, brings healing and life.
Are you feeling disconnected?
When was the last time someone hugged you, for no other reason than to just provide comfort?
Sometimes we use way to many words in a situation, when all that is needed is a safe hug that lets the person know that they are loved.
These are the beautiful lessons I am learning in my season of novice motherhood.
The tender, compassionate mercies of a simple hug.
Speak next sunday
(Photos were taken when Liberty was one week old, by the amazing Natalie Chambers from Shining Light Photography, for those living in Perth, contact her for family portraits and let her know that you were recommended by me.)