Every mother has a magic patch of skin. It’s easy to find: It’s the skin below your clavicle—your décolletage—which is, not coincidentally, right above your heart.
It’s magic because it has the ability to transport a mother back in time.
The other day, I went in to Peeper’s bedroom when I heard her wake up from a nap. She was crying, so I gathered her in my arms, sat back in the glider and started singing. She nestled into me, and her face snuggled right against the skin left bare by my v-neck shirt.
With the instant ease of a key turning in an oiled lock, my heart opened.
The best feelings of motherhood—awe, gratitude, love that practically blinds you as it shines out from every pore—washed over me. I inhaled Peeper’s scent, a mix of shampoo and toddler sweat with just a hint of peanut butter. And I was suddenly the brand-new mother of a newborn.Like most babies, Peeper spent a lot of time snuggled against my chest. She seemed comforted by the closeness, and I was, too. After all, I’d spent the last 40 weeks with her growing inside me, and having her so near was the next best thing.
The benefits of kangaroo care—nestling a mostly-naked baby against a caregiver’s bare skin—are well documented: Kangaroo care helps Baby by regulating her heart beat, improving breastfeeding, reducing rates of infection and quieting crying, among many other things. And it’s great for moms and dads, too. The practice speeds bonding and confidence in parenting, and it boosts a mother’s breast milk supply.
Medical literature didn’t cross my mind as toddler-Peeper snoozed against me, though. Neither did my to-do list.
And all the difficult, heart-tearing, frustrating parts of motherhood that sometimes make you want to give up—or at least hide under the covers for a while? Those were forgotten, too.
I was awash in the pure bliss of being a mom. Of having a tiny person find comfort in me. Of letting everything else in the world disappear, if only for a few minutes, while I held my child.
Those moments of being truly present don’t come too often in our house, which is more dominated by the distractions of bills and deadlines and skipped naps and a million broken crayons scattered across the carpet.
Thankfully, though, they’re only a tiny patch of skin away.