Touching Hearts


“The passion of touch warms the heart.”

My yoga teacher said that last night in class and it stuck with me.  It made me think about how we, as humans, need to be touched.  It isn’t learned.  It is instinctual.  And it isn’t a sexual thing.  Sometimes we just need to be hugged, rubbed, or caressed.  Simple as that.

I see it with my little O. He can be playing, happy as a clam, and he will walk over to me, come in for a hug and then go about his business.  It’s like a vitamin for him.  I believe that I can’t hug and kiss him enough.  Especially at this age, when he still wants me to.  He needs it.  It’s clear.  It makes him happy and secure.

I don’t know if that need evaporates when we get older, but the context of touch certainly changes.  It becomes something we are super aware of.  If we mistakenly touch a stranger, we are embarrassed and apologetic.  We are taught that touch is something we only do with people we are close to…and then it changes to something romantic and becomes gender related.  Women can hug other women, or a man.   Men generally only hug women they are romantic with (or related to) and tend to shake the hand of another male.  Shaking the hand of someone, while technically touching, doesn’t quite have the warming effect a hug provides.  Do men really need less “contact” or is that just what society tells them?  Whatever the case is, physical contact, human to human is pretty limited these days.  It’s strange and sad, really.

When was the last time you hugged someone? I mean really hugged? Not a polite hug.  That, to me,  is a glorified handshake. It’s like the “air kiss.”  Pointless.   Well, not pointless, but you know what I mean.  I’m talking about a true full body, 4-8 second hug?  My Aunt Ellie always gave me great hugs.  She would say, “touching hearts” while we were in a full embrace.  She’s been gone almost five years now and I can still feel the warmth of her touch.  Granted, we were very close.  But I would venture to say she made many other people feel just as special as she always made me feel.  I’d like to be more like my Aunt Ellie.

I’d like to teach our little O the value of the human touch. I want him to know the power of a hug and the profound meaning a simple hand on one’s shoulder can have when someone needs support.  I’d like him to seek contact with people, rather than communicate via virtual means.  And yet again, the only thing I can do is be an example.  He will choose his own way doing what he is comfortable with.  I guess, as parents, our job is show him the possibilities.  Our house is a home of affection.  We not only shower O with hugs and kisses, but we are always showing each other affection.  Touch is good.  Touch is important.  It lets us know we are loved and alive.  That our life matters to someone else.  It makes us feel safe and secure.  What was that Diana Ross song? “Reach out and touch….somebody’s hand…make this world a better place…if you can.”  Totally throwback time and totally corny…but so true! In yoga class it was more hip…..but the sentiment remains.

So until next time, go on a mission to touch someone (and yourself, if the spirit moves you but THAT’S a whole other post) and remember, behind every great kid is a mom who is pretty sure she is screwing it up.  Namaste! Xo

To Kiss Or Not To Kiss


This week I was floating around the Facebook Mommy groups I belong to looking for topics Moms are sharing and talking about.  There was a share of a June 9, 2015 article from  It was entitled, At What Age Should You Stop Kissing Your Kids On The Lips?  Before I read it, I thought to myself, this is going to be one of those articles that grabs your attention by the ridiculous question title and then goes on to dispel the whole issue. Boy, was I wrong.

This “article” cites two “experts.” The associate clinical professor of psychology from UCLA says the time to stop is NOW, as a kiss on the lips could be confusing to a child. At the very most, stop at age 5! What? And the other, a Proactive Parenting Coach, says the time to stop kissing on the lips is when either party feels uncomfortable.  Again….huh? I’m so disturbed by this parenting advice.  What the hell is wrong with people.  Talk about psychology messing people up! Not to mention, how do people get published writing this kind of ridiculous stuff?  How can someone take a pure form of affection between a parent and child and make it into something dirty? I just don’t get it.

Now to be fair, the article on was more of a regurgitation of  quotes from the “experts,” with a pinch of the writers own vague opinion, which seemed to be either here nor there.  It concluded with a “What do you think?” ending.  So I looked into the online bio of the writer, a Mr. Jace Whatcott.  The bio didn’t say whether Mr. Whatcott had children himself, although there was a photo of (I am assuming) him holding a child.  But, I am inclined to think he actually may not have a child himself, as his writing didn’t have a  parental tone.  And his list of hobbies (crossword puzzles, reading, and naps!) made me think he has WAY to much time on his hands to be a parent.  At least, a parent who parents. BAM!  Yeah, I know, harsh.

Because I live under a very large Mommy rock, I didn’t know there was a huge to-do this past winter about the New England Patriots Coach, Bill Belichick, giving his 30 year old daughter a congratulatory kiss on the lips at the Super Bowl.  Why would anyone feel that was inappropriate?  Now, if there was tongue involved, I could see someone having issue.  But a closed mouth kiss on the lips?  I truly believe it says more about the critic than the kiss.  Is there such a heightened eye on sexual abuse that we can’t discern between a non sexual intuitive act of affection and abuse?

I believe affection is oh so important to the development of a child into a healthy adult.  And, of course, there is data to support that theory.  Research published in the Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health found that babies with very affectionate moms grew up to be “more resilient, less anxious adults.” At about the age of 34, the same individuals showered with love and kisses as babies in the study showed the lowest levels of distress as adults.

But beyond all the data you can find to support either school of thought, what about common sense?  What about healthy instinctual affection between a parent and child, at any age?  If I see a grown man or woman kissing either their father or mother on the lips or cheek or forehead or hand….I think it shows a healthy relationship with intimacy and affection.  Kudos to the parent who taught their child to not be afraid of affection.

We are such an all or nothing society.  Instead of teaching a child the shades and nuances of affection and the meanings of affection in different relationships, we would rather avoid the conversation all together and just say NO KISSING ON THE LIPS AFTER 5 YEARS OLD.  Well, not this Mommy.  Or Daddy, for that matter.  My husband seems to have no problem showering our little O with kisses and hugs.  I can’t imagine him having a problem with it even when O gets older.  I see him kiss his mother on the lips and I think it’s lovely.  To think anything weird about it would be…well, weird.  I’m not worried about O being confused by our affection towards him.  What any child might find confusing is the inappropriate subtext people attach to such an instinctual natural act.  Children pick up on everything.  Even our latent fears.