My teen was home from college for her first short visit and I wanted to connect with her in a close way. I knew she was in the process of learning to be independent, and I wanted to respect her freedom and the personal growth she had achieved. I had read about giving 100 kisses to your child as a way to playfully connect and show her how much you love her. So I thought I would try doing this.
My daughter was sitting on the couch and looked a little lost, being home for the first time. I snuck up behind her and kissed her forehead while counting to ten. She started to smile and said, “What the heck?” I told her I missed her so much that I had 100 kisses stored up for her and I was going to try to sneak all 100 in before she went back to college. I then gave her 10 more and said, “Whew, that is 20!” She started laughing and I could see her relax and start to settle into being home.
As the weekend progressed, I continued to surprise her with 10 kisses on the shoulder, 10 kisses on the hand, 10 kisses on the leg. I don’t think I ended up completing the whole 100 kisses, but it didn’t matter. What it did do was give me an opportunity to show her she was loved and missed. She was able to relax, and it gave us an opportunity to talk about how different her life was at college than at home. She opened up about what her days were like, and what was happening with her friends and her classes.
Being playful helped me as much as it did her. I desperately wanted to make her feel comfortable being home, and didn’t know quite how. By being playful, I was able to tell her how much I loved her, get close to her and still respect her freedom. I played the “silly mom” role and was rewarded with laughter, closeness and respect.