When I started creating Pocket Cookies, they were going to be a collectable. Just something to carry in your pocket to collect or to trade with others, like baseball trading cards. The idea was sound and the sales were happening, so I didn’t give it much thought. Until one day I was sitting in my big overstuffed chair, stitching one of the Cookies with its classic blanket stitch. I noticed that everytime I turned the cookie in my hand, I had a tactile sensation. You know, the one that evokes memory. The more Cookies I stitched the more I realized the cookies were a whole lot more than just a collectable.
When we are small we seek out things to touch. First, as infants we caress the fullness of our mother’s breast as we nurse, and in return our mothers stoke our small soft hands and gently brush our soft fuzzy heads. All the time having contact with us. Touch.
As we get older we no longer have the need for constant contact with our parents, but wecontinue to seek out tactile stimulation. Often it will be a blanket, stuffed animal or even both.
Children have such a tactile relationship with their blanket that they wear them out. The satin bindings on blankets are replaced numerous times.
I believe after spending many long nights with a child wailing, bawling, blubbering and blowing snot bubbles over a ‘wooby’ that has gone missing, parents head straight to the store and buy multiple spare blankets then hide them away. I have no empirical data to prove this just a secret belief. Touch.
Tactile comfort continues to be an important part of our lives. The need to cuddle into our parents when we are upset and the need to draw solace. However, the same can be said for parents. We often draw comfort from simple acts such as stroking a child’s hair while brushing it or caressing a child’s sweet face while wiping the dirt from their chin.
I remember one time I was very ill and my mother came to help take care of me. I found myself cuddling in next to her, holding her hand, and I realized that we had the same hands. It comforted me; mind you I was an adult with children of my own. Touch.
Many of us find our tactile comfort needs are met by animals. The unconditional (for lack of a better word) love that a dog or cat gives to their people is soul-moving.
My family had a golden retriever who loved us with everything she was. She would come to us willing to share her whole being. Just the simple act of petting her would lower any anxiety I might be experiencing. I loved that she was in complete control of how long I would pet her. If she wasn’t finished she would flip my hand up with her nose to get me to continue. The day she left us I stroked her neck to lower her anxiety. Touch.
I had the honor of sitting with my Happy Hubby’s grandmother while she was in hospice care. I applied lotion to my hands and gently rubbed it into her small frail ones. Knowing she wasn’t long for this life we both recognized the importance of that physical connection. Touch.
Even now my adult children will cuddle up to me just to be close. My oldest will still sit on my lap pulling her deer-like legs up under her, throwing me back to a memory of when she was young and sought out my lap for comfort. A Rabbi I once know said she hoped for a ‘big lap’ so her grandchildren would want to spend a lot of time sitting on it. Touch.
Tactile comfort comes in many forms. A father helping a child with a fishing pole. A big black cat snuggled up against an older lady feeling her age. The comforting kissing of a Nana when a little red haired girl drops her cookie and the dog eats it. The reunion hugs and kisses of a family separated by deployment. Touch.