I am participating in the
All participants are sharing stories about moments in their lives, writing
every day for the month of March 2021.
Thank you, Two Writing Teachers, for nurturing teacher-writers!
Check out this sweet photo:
These are the hands of four month old Bird. Since her earliest days, she has held her own hands. I suspect she did this in utero. I find it so dear. I cradle her in my arms, and there she is, her own fingers interlocked. She is self-soothing - no small thing, right? She also reaches up to grab our fingers and hands, but she loves to simply hold her own.
Her big sister Frog (28 months old) has a different touch technique for soothing. From her earliest days, Frog has held onto the thumb of a loving adult's hand, while sucking her own thumb. Yes, she reaches for touch support from others. She reaches out for this loving thumb whenever she feels "too much" - too sad, too tired, too scared or surprised. I find this very dear, too. Yes, clasping onto an adult finger, and holding on tight, seems to soothe her. Check out my most recent photo of her reaching for my hand:
Any idea what her hands were into, before she reached for me? Frozen blueberries! Yes, I don't know why she was overcome with this need to hold my thumb in the midst of her funny little favorite snack (she loves to eat frozen blueberries), but the next thing I knew she said - "Nana?" and reached for me. How could I refuse this? Now I wonder, did she simply get too cold? Maybe one of those freeze-headache sensations, and she reached out for support? Pretty funny, pretty dear.
I must admit, it was a strange sensation to feel that frozen, juiced hand around my thumb. I had a flashback memory of picking up the frozen, melting chunks of a popsicle after they fell onto a table. No, not my favorite sensation, but the tight hold of support from Frog 'got me through it."
It is a very dear 'ask' of me. I will miss her doing this, one day.
How important it is to touch, to hold hands. How much good it does! When I taught preschool (pre-pandemic), I held hands with those little ones most every day, for varied reasons - some need help walking up and down the stairs; some I simply needed to keep by my side for a bit; goodness knows, some needed me to hold their hand just to help them keep their balance for an unexpected change of clothes. Certainly, just like with Frog, many preschoolers found it very soothing to hold their teacher's hand when they felt sad or hurt or simply unsettled.
Holding on to my granddaughters' hands today, I wondered -
how are early learning teachers guiding children 'in-person' without touch, during this pandemic?
How is this even possible?
I also flashed on my dear Dad, in his final days this past August. At 91 years of age, he, too, like a young child, seemed to crave touch. When I first visited him, three weeks before he died, here's how I found his hands:
Reminds me of his great granddaughter, Bird! I was able to spend a lot of time with my Dad during his last days (I am so grateful for this), and one of my most poignant memories is how much he seemed to enjoy just holding my hand. This is one of my very last photos, which I truly treasure:
That's me and Dad, holding hands.
"The touch of love awakens wonders."
- Lailah Gifty Akita