Part of the grief of an unsupportive marriage and the subsequent divorce has been the matter of the lack of regular companionable touch. For awhile I've told myself that the hugs of my then-eight and now-nine-year-old daughter are wonderful, but just not the same as a grown up's and preferably a male's.
A migraine slowly made its presence known this morning as I was waking, showering, and getting ready for the day. I took my prescription medicine and waited while it kicked in.
In the kitchen, I felt the weariness and vulnerability that comes with the pain of migraines. I asked for a hug from my daughter. She wrapped her arms around me, and then heard me begin to cry. When I assured her I wasn't sick and that tears sometimes help relieve the pressure of a headache, I felt her take her role as comforter seriously. She sat on my lap facing me and held on. She held me firmly and alternately placed her hand on my head and rubbed the left side where she knew the pain was concentrated. She moved back, placed her hands on my neck and began giving me a massage.
I let myself sink into this comforting mother-daughter moment. When I patted her bottom, thanked her for her kindness, and told her it was time to drive to school, I felt better and realized it was okay for me to every once in a while, ask her for a hug. I have been pleasantly mistaken that her hugs wouldn't be enough. Today they are.