“When we hug, our hearts connect and we know that we are not separate beings.”
My clever kid was about 15 months old when he abandoned nearly all requests to be picked up.
To him, the briefest pause was an eternity. Of course, toddlers have no tolerance for waiting, and any effort—no matter how gentle—to introduce the concept of delayed gratification or patience is futile. They want what they want when they want it, so GET IT TOGETHER, FOLKS!
K had quickly come to realize that I could not resist his yumminess. Throughout the day, I would snatch him up for sniff (ah, that baby-fresh scent), squeeze and smooch!
I’m sure you can see where this is going…
Yup, K understood that whenever I was deeply engaged in an activity (usually cooking dinner) all he needed to do was stand at my feet, stretch open his arms, flap his hands and beg for a hug!
How could I not instantly drop whatever I was doing to oblige him? Every. Single. Time.
Nothing is more important than assuring my child that I see him, hear him, and feel his need to be connected. But, of course, there are moments when I feel stretched to complete a time-sensitive task and cannot immediately give him my full attention.
So I talk him through it—I hear you, lovey. I know you want Mommy…this is what I’m doing now, then we’ll do X, Y and Z. And soon as it is possible, I hug and kiss him wholeheartedly for a few breaths and go about the task at hand.
Often that is enough. But when it isn’t, I keep him next to me and do what parenthood demands we master (or fail miserably trying): multitask!
Other times, however, I require space and uninterrupted solitude. In those instances, the multitasking continues. My attention is concentrated on the activity while my heart is reaching toward him.
I acknowledge the subtle twinge of guilt and release it. Breathing into it, I trust that he’s been properly fortified by every loving touch we exchange and that his sense of our connectedness will sustain him through the healthy, naturally-unfolding experiences of separation between parent and growing child.
But the instant my work ends, I grab K and love him up—breathing deeply as I squeeze and smooch until he’s had enough.
Learn more about the practice of Hugging Meditation.