A Loving Moment Lasts A Lifetime
I grew up in a home where there were very few loving moments of connection with my parents. I have no memories of affection with my mom. I have only 3 memories of loving moments with my dad...
The first time was when I was 8 years old and scared during a thunderstorm. He protectively took my hand and led me onto the terrace of our apartment in Jackson Heights, NY. We sat on chairs and made a game counting the seconds in between the sounds of loud thunder. In that moment, I felt safe and secure, that I could trust him to help me overcome my fear.
The second was when I woke up in the middle of the night after a nightmare and was emotionally upset. My dad got up with me, took my hand into the kitchen, and made me my favorite cheese sandwich. He put his arm around me and asked what was wrong. In that moment, I felt like he genuinely cared about what was bothering me and help make it better.
The third was every time we’d get our baseball gloves on and play throw and catch outside. I loved playing sports and my dad did too. He’d play with me for hours... the rain, when it snowed, and in the hot, humid summers. We didn’t talk- it was just peaceful between us.
My childhood experience greatly impacted me. When I became a parent, I wanted to be the kind of mom that was
Looking back, I realized that it doesn’t matter what your parents buy you or how much time they spend with you. The only thing that matters is the quality of time- the true moments of connection like I described above where my dad was emotionally available and loving to me. It made me feel loved inside. What remains are these memories years after their passing.
When I found out I was pregnant with my 1st, Sophia, I asked myself, what’s the biggest gift I can give her? And the answer came to me:
I knew from my childhood how to instinctively love my children- to give them what I had so little of so they could feel so loved and cherished inside. When a child feels loved, it gives them inner confidence and fills them with positive thoughts and feelings in their brain that they are worthy of receiving love, of having their dreams manifest. Without it, a child grows into an adult who doesn’t feel worthy of having these things and you’ll find them in unhappy relationships, in miserable jobs, and unhappy inside. How do I know? Because I was this child who wasn’t loved. I had to give myself the love my parents never did. And, only when I did was I able to leave an unhappy career and an unfulfilling relationship to live out my dreams.
You may ask what does that mean to be present? It’s easy- stop what you’re doing. Put down your iPhone. Lose your agenda and focus on one thing- your child. Children live in the present moment. All you have to do is meet them there and have fun. From your heart to theirs- no strings attached.
This is what matters to a child most. This is what they’ll remember. The top neuroscientists who study brain development in children report that loving moments of emotional connection during the early years are critical because early connections make or (without them) break their entire adult life. For more science about loving moments and their effect on your child’s developing brain, read the next 2 articles in the series: Develop and Interact.
Embrace the present moment. That time when you and your child are simply having fun- no agenda. This is where the magic happens!