A Mother’s Comfort
Scientific American describes my mother to a T.
An article titled “The Incredible Importance of Mothers,” by social scientist Melanie Tannenbaum, lays out the argument that a mother’s comfort - not just meeting basic needs, such as providing food and shelter - is essential to the development and wellbeing of children.
Tannenbaum cites the work of social scientist John Bowlby, who in the 1950s “determined that our attachment to parental figures (in particular, he argued, to mothers) plays a huge, critical role in our ability to learn, grow, and develop healthy adult relationships.”
She also cites the work of psychologist Harry Harlow, who was strongly influenced by Bowlby’s attachment theory. Harlow believed that we humans have a core motivation for love and affection as children and that a mother’s comfort is what develops our sense of security - which is the key to living a happy, productive and well-adjusted life.
I have many fond memories of being comforted by my mother.
I’m the third child and only boy in a family of six children, so there was a lot of competition for my mother’s attention.
But I vividly remember one warm, sunny spring day while my two older sisters were at school and I got to have my mother all to myself.
I must have been four at the time and she was pregnant with my sister, Lisa.
As I played with my red wagon, which I loved, she was whistling as she tended to the flowers in the backyard.
She was happy by nature and loved to whistle - a skill she learned from her father and passed down to me.