Well, we are all in quarantine, so I can’t come to your house and read your kids a story or take them out on a trail hike. But maybe I can offer this….
I can remember the ways my mother tended to me when I was ill as a child. She was a busy woman with five children and another job outside the home.
But when I was sick, she would pause at my bedside. She would sit on the edge of my bed and place her hand gently on my face to check for fever. She would tuck the bed covers in extra snug and give me a little kiss on the forehead.
I doubt that this small interlude altered the trajectory of my illness much. I doubt the exchange lasted more than a minute. But it left an impression, 60 years later, that tells me I was loved. My mother is years gone. I am an old guy, but that hand to my forehead, that pause bedside, it lives and sustains me to this day.
See if it isn’t so in your own life. Think of someone in your own life who loved you like crazy when you were small. It could be anyone at all, your mother, father, grandparent, or maybe a good friend. See if you can remember times, moments, activities, when you knew you were loved.
Did someone read to you? Snuggle with you a minute before bed? Did they let you help cook pancakes and let you stir? These are the landscapes of love. Not big things, rather these patterns of small moments.
Try to picture one of those moments. Just settle with that. Maybe you can remember the look on their face, the spaces you inhabited, the sights and smells and sounds of those moments.
My mom was not perfect. But, oh my, we had our moments. And, I suppose I left an impression on her too. She saved these little handprints for a very long time until they were passed on to me.
Maybe it will be so for you and your children.