My dentist died this week. He has been my dentist for 30 years. When I think of him, I think of his hands. His hands were soft and gentle. They moved with confidence. His hands calmed me down. I will miss his hands.
One of the givens of human nature is the need for touch. Research shows that when a child is deprived of human touch, he will not thrive. Sometimes we forget this basic need. We get busy with life and forget about touching the ones we love.
When my daughters were born, touch was a part of our daily life together. There was feeding, bathing, changing, and cuddling. Even after they could dress themselves, cuddling together at night with a book on the sofa or in the bed kept touching a part of our lives.
When did we stop touching? I don’t remember the day we stopped cuddling. They grew up. We got busy. It happened without me noticing.
Now my daughters are adults and live their own lives. Touch is the occasional hug when we get together.
The same thing happens to couples. When my husband and I were dating and then married, we touched constantly. A kiss, a hug, a pat. But now we’ve been married almost 34 years. We have to be more intentional about touching, or we get busy and forget.
Dancing has brought us back to touching. We dance at least once a week. Dancing requires touching. We hold each other. Our hands touch and hold and spin. Sometimes we step on each other’s feet. Usually we are smiling. Touching, music, and movement bring joy, laughter, and love.
My last dentist appointment was a few months ago. Clyde had retired in January, so I was surprised when he came in to check on me. He couldn’t stay away, he told me. I was so relieved to see him. I didn’t know it would be the last time.
Take time today to remember the power, the magic, and the love of a gentle touch.