Kissy, Kissy – Why Modeling Affection Is Healthy for Kids

kissing.jpg

Do you kiss your partner in front of your kids? I recently overheard a couple talking about how they don’t snuggle or hold hands in front of their kids and it made me feel kinda sad for them, and their kids.

How else are kids supposed to learn healthy models of affection between two loving adults?

When it comes to showing affection, such as giving hugs, snuggling, or holding hands, I want my son to know that expressing his emotions and showing affection for the people he loves is a good thing. It makes me happy to see him reach out and hug one of his buddies, or to watch him tell someone he cares about that he loves them.

Of course affection between kids is very different than affection between two adults, and children should never be made to feel excluded, but we can teach our children that too.

Children learn from what we teach them, but more than that, they learn from the behaviors they observe, what their parents model. Even when we think they aren’t paying attention, they usually are, and they pick up on subtle cues as well. Whether we are consciously aware of it or not, kids are always taking notes and emulating their parents and other adults they grow up around.

When I kiss my partner in front of the kids, in some ways it feels odd, because we are not married, we didn’t have children together, and yet, here are these kids (ours, but not ours) who look up to us. I hope they see two adults who love each other and express their care and emotions in a healthy way.

Kissy, kissy.

 

Tumors & Insomnia

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Two binders sit on my shelf, side-by-side. One with the word “Tumor” emblazoned upon its spine, the other labeled “Emotional Tumor.”

The first binder details the tiny tumor that’s perched, quite literally, inside my head. It doesn’t bother me so much, this 1.4x 1.0x 2.7cm mass. It needs to be treated, but the treatment is fairly straightforward. In less than 30 days, it will be taken care of, with a 95% probability of never bothering me again. Sounds promising.

That is when you’re not lying awake anxious, wondering about the black hole that lies within the missing 5%.

In comparison, the headache in my second binder has no end in sight, is relatively unstable, and seems to multiply every attempt I make to move forward. That would be my divorce / custody binder I’m referring to.

It’s hard to say which stress outweighs the other. Usually it’s a tug-of-war fueled by which, in that particular moment, has the most pressing immediacy.

situation: battling insomnia that’s come back to rest in its familiar place

song: In the Long Run, The Staves

 

Stand By Me

walking away

I didn’t marry a man who would stand by my side.

Not realizing it at the time, we were both so young, he was not the man I hoped he would be, one who would be there for me, no matter what.

When the going got tough, he disappeared.

I made excuses for him, and I grew stronger because I had to.

When I needed him most, he was unavailable.

Even when he was there, he wasn’t actually there.

I told myself I would never make the same mistake again.

And I haven’t.

We all deserve to be with someone who understands us, someone who truly listens and loves us for who we are, not for who they want us to be.

It goes both ways.

 

Uncertainty

purple flower

Uncertainty in life can be scary.

Divorce has added up to be a lot of uncertainty. I don’t think I expected that, at least not to this degree.

I was talking with someone close to me the other day about the uncertainty of divorce and how scary it feels to not know where I will be next month, let alone next year, and he said something that was so wise and reflective.

He said, “Well, you need something to do next year anyways.”

True that.

I like the promise that underlies that statement.

Adrift

compass

Balanced on my board,

I use my paddle to keep me steady

Even keeled, I try to be

The wind gusts

I guess at least 12 knots

Instead of fighting it,

I let it steer my direction

It’s fruitless to resist it anyway

Glancing back toward the shore from which I came,

I start to draw parallels of my life

It’s easy to see a straight line,

from Point A to Point B,

in hindsight

But life isn’t as simple as it appears to be

Even out on the water