The long-standing tradition of mothers kissing their child’s boo-boos to make them feel “all better” perhaps has more truth to it than I ever thought, although their “boo-boos” may be more of an emotional, rather than physical, type.
I always drop my boys off to school with a word of confidence and a kiss — even my older ones. They have come to expect it. Every time we pull around the school drop-off, they climb over the seats worn with shoe prints and smeared with granola bars and fruit snacks and make their way toward me.
Placing their little hands on either side of the driver's and the passenger seats, they wait. I reach up and touch their still-chubby cheeks and pull them in close.
“Have a great day!” I say, and press my lips to their face, breathing in one last smell of them (at this point, it’s still a good one) before they run into school for another adventure.
On a recent kindergarten drop-off, I had a full carload with me. My son had invited a few friends over to play before school, and so I had offered to take them all. As we pulled in, I suddenly wondered if he would be too embarrassed to have his mom smooching his face in front of his little buddies. So instead, I watched while they clamored to get out of the sliding car door with their ginormous back-packs bouncing on their tiny backs, and said, “Have a great day!” They all waved and hurried off.
Except my Beckham. “Oh!” He said, climbing back toward me. “I forgot my kiss!”
My heart swelled close to bursting as I wrapped my hands around his face and gently kissed him goodbye. He smiled.
“Those kisses,” he began, and I laughed because I assumed he was going to say, “are good luck,” something I always tell my boys so they won’t try to wipe them off when I plant one on them. But he didn’t say that.
“Those kisses always make me feel better.”
I melted into my seat. “Really?” I asked. “Oh, Beckham, that is so sweet.”
“Bye, Mom!” he said, and ran toward the school while I just sat there with my hand pressed over my heart, having a MOMent — a term I learned from author Jessica Poe — a precious, heavenly moment where I feel like I am actually doing a most sacred, holy, worthwhile work.
I read an article recently about a boy that was being severely bullied at a school fairly close to where we live. The images and sick feelings keep coming back to me, paralyzing me with fear for my own children. Sending them to school every day is something so common and habitual, yet I am still sending a piece of my heart away every time they leave. I think about them throughout the entire day. I feel constantly pulled and tugged by their little hearts, by a parental string that is strong as steel, keeping us spiritually connected. It’s the same connection I felt when I was pregnant with them.
After Beckham got home from school, I asked him why he told me my kisses “made him feel better.”
“I always get nervous before I go to school,” he said. “But when you kiss me, I feel better.”
Moms, don’t underestimate the power of your affection. Keep hugging them. Keep holding them. Keep loving them. Sometimes your kiss really can make their boo-boo go away.
Carmen Rasmusen Herbert is a former "American Idol" contestant who writes about entertainment and family for the Deseret News. Her email is firstname.lastname@example.org.