Sunday, December 1, 2013

The Power of Touch

                                                     Drawing by Cyndi Cesare

Some people take touch for granted.  It's so natural for them to reach out and touch someone's hand or hug someone.  I was not raised that way.  When I tell someone that I really don't have a single memory of my parents touching me when I was a child, I can see the disbelief or suspicion in their eyes.  My parents grew up with some really dysfunctional ideas.  They were never touched by their parents.  Maybe it's the area in which they were raised.  My mother says that it's generational, but I don't think that's it.  All of my friends had parents and grandparents, even older than mine, and I always saw hugging and other physical signs of love , support, and approval in their homes.  My parents were actually in their 20's in the sixties.  These were the days of peace, love, introspection, exploration, etc.

My, maternal, grandparents were very, physically, cold.  They loved us, but they never said it and they certainly never touched us.  To them, every form of touch was wrong and might have something sexual behind it.  I know my, maternal, great-grandfather was the same.  I'm not sure about my mom's grandmother.  I think she might have been a little more loving if she had been able.

My mom's mother died too early.  My grandfather was in his 60's, so he remarried.  His new wife was a short, little, red-haired, lady that hugged everyone.  When I was in my early 20's, she used to hold my hand in the mall.  Surprisingly, my grandfather jumped on the hugging bandwagon right away, as did we all.  We probably looked pretty funny for the first year or two.  We were definitely some uncomfortable huggers.  But, before we knew it, we were hugging hello, hugging goodby, hugging congratulations, you name it - we were finally normal.

My sister had two children and we actually touched them.  We kissed them, threw them up in the air, swung them around, we we're becoming pros.  Then I married an Italian and his family "forgettabouddit" they would hug at the drop of a hat.

Touch is so important.  When someone reaches out and touches you, it can make you feel special, loved, safe, stronger, healed.  Babies stop crying when you pick them up.  Dogs are happy if you just put one hand on their head.  

What made me think about touching today was a phone call from my mother.  My grandfather is 95 and in a long-term care facility.  She said that he hugged her today for a very long time - like he might never see her again.  I think that, in his current situation, there are so few things that really bring pleasure.  He eats lots of cookies because the sugary taste is so pleasurable to him.  I think the feel of his daughter was so good, because he no longer has the worries, inhibitions, or archaic ideas of his past.  He just knows what feels good and what doesn't.  And, what could be better than your only child sitting next to you and knowing that you are stilled loved.

So, reach out and touch someone today.


1 comment:

  1. Wow, Cyndi this is really nice...Love you,