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A Mother's Touch

Tara Buchanan
Romeoville IL USA
From NEW BEGINNINGS, Vol. 25, No. 3, 2008, p. 35

My husband and I were delighted to witness some dear friends of ours fall in love. Hook, line, and sinker, head over heels, you name it. But they live 200 miles apart, so their relationship is phone and email-centered. It must be so hard when the one you love is far away on those days when you just need a hug!

Then I realized, for us mothers, we have to do exactly the opposite. We fall in love with a newborn in our arms who can neither talk on the phone nor send email! Our relationship with our babies seems so purely physical. What images does the word "mother" bring to mind? A mother nursing, holding, rocking, kissing, cuddling. So much of our mothering in the early years is touching, touching, touching.

As mothers we look forward to the day when we can communicate fully with our children. When a fussy baby is in our arms, we cry, "What is it you want?" We beg of our toddlers, "Use your words instead of screaming." And, to the older child's unending questions we say, "You'll understand when you're older."

But when words fail us at any age, we touch. Our babies don't understand what we say, but they hear the gentleness in our voice and feel the warmth of our arms. Before we even speak to our babies, they understand what love is at their first suckling. We need to remind ourselves and other mothers to enjoy the stages where physical touch is the main vehicle for our love. A few short years and we will hear those precious first "I love you's" from our children, and perhaps shortly after that, a "LUV U" on our cell phones!

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