By Estelle Erasmus
When she’s sick and I gently kiss her feverish brow, hoping to heal her with a spoonful of a mother’s love—the best medicine.
Kissing is a universal way to demonstrate love. I like to smother my daughter with affection, and studies support that doing this can help ease her stress and anxiety and help her to become a resilient adult.
Here are the kinds of kisses we share.
1) Angel kisses: Where I lightly kiss her right next to her eyes, on either side. I usually kiss her this way when waking her up in the morning.
2) Blowing kisses: When I drive away from her school, as I watch her adjust her backpack and join up with her friends, I kiss my hand and then blow her bittersweet kisses from my window, which she catches in her hand and blows back to me.
3) Boo-Boo Kiss: A therapeutic kiss guaranteed to make a boo-boo feel better, if not go away entirely.
4) Butterfly kisses: Sprinkled on her cheeks, eyes and lashes like morning dew meeting an upturned flower.
5) Careful kisses: When she is engrossed in a coloring project or LEGO building but I want her to know I’m by her side, I kiss her arm or shoulder or top of her head.
6) Cheek kisses: When she leaves to go to school, I give her a peck on the cheek. In many cultures, it’s a common way of saying hello or goodbye.
7) Devouring kisses: I am often reminded that time is fleeting and that my cherished little girl may soon be unimpressed or unmoved by my physical expressions of love. So I kiss her as if I were inhaling her—her youth, her innocence, her energy.
8) Eskimo kisses: Sometimes right before she drifts off to sleep, we’ll rub our noses together back and forth and she’ll say the nonsensical words “Muga Muga” and expect me to say them back (I always do).
9) Hair kisses: Usually after she’s washed her hair, I smother her with kisses on her clean, strawberry or citrus-scented tresses.
10) Hand kisses: Each morning, we start our day by holding hands as we walk to the car. Right before she buckles herself into her car seat, I kiss her on the palm or back of her hand, as an affectionate benediction. It delights me that she’s recently started returning the favor.
11) Noisy kisses: When my mouth makes a popping sound on her bellybutton, which sends her into paroxysms of helpless laughter at the antics of her silly mother.
12) Rocking kisses: When she is feeling bad, mad, or sad I often can make the clouds drift away by rocking her in my arms. While doing this, I hum a little tune (ah, ah baby, ah ah my lady), while at the same time I press my lips on the top of her head in a never ending kiss, without breaking contact. It never fails to make her feel better.
13) Soft kisses: When she’s sick and I gently kiss her feverish brow, hoping to heal her with a spoonful of a mother’s love—the best medicine.
14) Tearful kisses: Sometimes, I look at her and become painfully aware of how very precious she is to me. Despite my best efforts, I feel my breath catch in my throat and as my eyes fill with tears I kiss her on the cheek or head.
15) Tickle kisses (not to be confused with noisy kisses): When I tickle her on her neck or under her arms and she can’t stop laughing, while I plant myriad kisses on her face.
Estelle Erasmus has been published in numerous publications including Marie Claire, The Washington Post, and National Geographic Traveler. She blogs at Musings on Motherhood & Midlife and tweets at @EstelleSErasmus.