When I lowered my newborn son into the bath for the first time I felt a great sense of care for him. Holding his little body as he splashed around with one arm was no mean feat, but after a few goes it became natural. The midwife told me to hold him firm as babies get upset if you’re hesitant holding them in the water. Seemed logical to me — I would want a firm grip too.
I occasionally took both my sons into the shower with me to hold them to my chest as we showered, not just for cleanliness but for essential bonding. I will treasure holding my little men so close to me.
I was always aware of touch and how it is important to your psyche and physical health. My family hugged a lot.
When the boys were around my ex-boyfriend and me, I made sure they saw me touching his arm or holding his leg gently. I felt it was important for them to see physical and non-sexual contact in their lives since their mother and I rarely touch any more.
There are nights when the boys sit on my lap and are comforted in my embrace. They quietly zone out and occasionally pull at my hairy arms in a trancy state. It’s like a little family of orang-utans.
My grip on them at traffic lights and when we walk is ironclad, yet gentle and loving at the same time.
I think about the other forms of touch I experience. Recently when I was walking home with a play friend, he slinked his hand into my grasp and I yelped, jumped and giggle-fought my way out of his clamp. I’ve always been comfortable holding men’s hands, but this night I was Mr Squirmy.
To another night where I went on a date to see a show. I’d seen this particular man a few times before, but I had my first sleepover at his place that night. We cuddled up the entire night. Nothing else, just happy in a warm embrace.
When I talk to my friends I touch their arms or hands. My friends return the touch. We are a measure of each other, it seems.
Caring. Safety. Openness. Display and finally love. Complex feelings from such a simple action.

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