When my oldest daughter was a toddler, her favorite thing to do after lights-out was to stroke my arm. I have a variety of moles; she’d rub them like little worry beads.
In my head, I felt honored by her touches. They were (mostly) gentle, and meant that my very body was a comfort object. How could I be anything other than charmed by the soft caresses of my daughter’s chubby fingers?
IT DROVE ME ABSOLUTELY INSANE.
I’m ticklish. Not in a ‘funny-ha-ha’ kind of way, but in a ‘panicking-get-away-from-me” way. It’s worse when I’m constantly surrounded by people. Funnily enough, my own children count. Factor sleep deprivation and the endless nighttime routine of my very alert toddler, and you have a recipe for a giant monster of ugly resentment.
Some of my most shameful mothering moments were in those quiet bedtimes: me finally snapping and being, well, not gentle at all.
She longed for my body to comfort her. I offered exactly the opposite.
My daughter is ten now. I’m so grateful for my relationship to her, so grateful for what she’s taught me about love and openness and gentleness.
And the hardest lesson in her early life was learning boundaries…
I’m so pleased that I had a post up at Erika Shirk’s Whole Mama series–I love this encouraging community of women. Won’t you join me over there?