Illustration by Lise C. Brown
“A kiss is the rosy dot over the ‘i’ of ‘loving.'” — Cyrano de Bergerac
Your child broke a bone. A cast has been applied. Let the healing of body and mood begin. Wait! Something’s missing: a parent’s kiss “to make it better.”
Parental kissing may date back to prehistoric times when mothers fed their babies by transferring chewed food from mouth to mouth. Today we have more hygienic ways to feed our children…but kisses remain an instinctive way to show parental love. We kiss toes, chubby cheeks, wobbly necks. We blow kisses at our babies and teach them to blow kisses back. We sign notes to our kids with XXX, each X standing for a kiss.
Never is a kiss more needed, and earnestly bestowed, than when a child is hurt. Parents rush to soothe the tiniest scrape or the lumpiest bump with “Let me kiss it and make it better.”
What about when a child’s hurt is major — a broken arm or leg — and buried under impenetrable plaster or fiberglass? When I pondered writing a book about my granddaughter’s broken femur (thigh bone) and chest-to-ankle (spica) cast, I had an “Aha!” A broken bone called for super-sizing The Kisses! Thus:
I made The Kisses Sammy’s secret cheerleaders. When they speak, they whisper; when they whisper, only Sammy can hear them. That privilege gives her a sense of power at a time when her clunky cast has diminished her usual powers. Children who share a secret language with their favorite stuffed animal or elaborate play-dates with imaginary friends will connect with Sammy’s kisses.
The Kisses stay on the job, cheering for Sammy while she recovers and can again “run and twirl and skip and jump.” When Sammy is completely healed, she blows one of her own kisses in farewell when The Kisses whoosh away. Sweet!
Two somewhat recent books charmingly feature kisses.
Catching Kisses by Amy Gibson, illustrated by Maria Van Lieshout
Catch a Kiss by Deborah Diesen, illustrated by Kris Aro McLeod