THE WAGE OF AFFECTION
Last night I borderline made out with my boys. Not really, but you get me. We kissed goodnight, we did hugs, and it went on and on for what felt like hours. I didn’t want to stop. Neither did they. As I snuggled them together in a group mommy hug across both cribs, I said out loud while looking up at the ceiling, “Thank you God for tonight. For this. For my family. For this love. I said “night night” to the twins, blew them a kiss and I walked out.
I’m overly affectionate. Most people that know me, know this about me. I like hugs. Kissing. Touching. Holding. All of it. It makes me calm. Makes my heart feel settled. Feels like love.
It’s not for everyone, I get it.
But it’s for me.
And for what it’s worth, the wage of affection is definitely worth something. And here’s why.
Tenderness, warmth, passion, affection, it all goes back to the very root of love. It’s steadfast. And when one feels that love, he or she is different. Most notably, calm and safe.
I thought about this last night as I pondered if someone was watching me adore my babies with such reverent fondness, would they think it’s too much? Or overkill. Or “we get it, you love your kid”. It also haunted for me for a quick second that perhaps my overkill of affection to my children played into the saga we had at swimming lessons Monday. Perhaps, maybe I baby them too much.
But the thought quickly exited my mind as quickly as it was thought up.
Because loving is how I mother.
In a day and age where one can argue both sides to any argument, this is one that couldn’t and wouldn’t be defeated. And there's research to back it up.
According to an article in the New York Times, "'We touch each other too little,'' Dr. Field said. ''Body contact is very beneficial between parents and children right up to adolescence.'' While a warm touch is part of loving contact and is difficult to separate from it, research is suggesting that touch has an importance over and above other expressions of affection and that its presence has consequences for psychological development.
So there's something to it.
And although I find myself borderline obnoxious kissing on my babies at bedtime, or all day for that matter (when they are not spilling apple juice on my pricey velvet), I have found the profound effect it has on their demeanor. I learned this as a young child too. The act of love poured onto me since birth inherently became my way of living and parenting (thanks to my overly affectionate parents). (Think “meet the fockers” minus the sex therapy part).
Having received this kind of adoration from an early age created an enduring and tender calm in me. A safe haven. And it resides here in me everyday.
To be clear, I am stern at moments and affection-less at times, (because duh, parenting). But when I do place this love onto my babies and with no apologies simply because if it feels like love and love brings you joy, isn’t the wage of affection like the highest return you could possibly get?
I don’t crunch numbers in this regard, but I’m willing to bet, if we all stopped placing judgement on each other and continued the cycle of love and adoration on our children, we might possibly hold the key to improved demeanor and hope in humanity across the board.
Just a thought as I wiped my son’s snot from my chin after two of the hardest days in motherhood that I've had.
I love you stinkers and I’ll kiss you as much as I please.