Guest post by Dr. Barbara Becker Holstein
I have so many memories of my mother making my life cozy.
Some of her efforts happened when I was sick: I was allowed to spend the day in my parent’s double bed rather than my bed; my mother got out all her jewelry and we played jewelry store on the double bed (I was the customer and then she would be the customer); my mom would get out her mar jog set and I would play with the dice as I rested in bed. And then there were the Melvin stories she told in which she was teased by a little boy next door when she was a kid. I never knew how much of a bully Melvin was in real life, but what did that matter? A Melvin story always made me feel my life wasn’t so terrible.
As I grew older her ways of helping me feel cozy changed:
If I were sick she would stop on her way home and buy me a Nancy Drew mystery book; if I had a bad dream and I called out to her she would lie at the foot of my bed until I was asleep again; if life seemed to be not going my way with guys, she would tell me how certain she was that things would be better next year. After all, boys matured so slowly. She always had the cozy welcome mat out. Did I need a tuna fish sandwich? a funny story? a new outfit? to be dropped off at a friend’s house? She was ready with the cozy fix.
Yes, my mom understood the concept of cozy, which I am defining as those moments when you feel safe and sound and comfortable even if you are miserable with a head cold or a broken date or feeling sorry for yourself. Getting through these moments successfully usually results after someone has soothed you or you have learned to soothe yourself. They are very important moments to get through as they replenish us and give us have the courage to go on.
And here is where it is so important for us to remember that as grandmothers we often hold the key to making our children and our grandchildren feel cozy.
Sometimes we bake, sometimes we send money, sometimes we take a grandchild out to lunch and give her a treat while our own daughter has the treat of time for herself. The ways we maneuver coziness are endless and important.
As a psychologist, I can tell you that giving a child a sense of being valued, understood at the moment and loved is priceless. The rewards last a lifetime and even travel down through the generations.
How did my mom have the courage to make me cozy so many hundreds of times?
I believe she could because her mother, my grandmother, Rose Silverman, knew how to give my mom that cozy sense of being loved that was just as real as a precious diamond. Here are some memories that my mom, Bernice Becker, shared in a story she wrote, titled ‘Told From The Heart-Times I Still Treasure’.
“If a feeling of security can come because of a loving mother waiting for me to come home from school at noon for a wholesome lunch and was always there after school to hear about my day, then I’m sure I had a good foundation for helping me to feel secure…Mother and I enjoyed good times by ourselves. We’d go downtown to Boston on the Trolley….After shopping, we went to Georgian Cafeteria. That was to me, a fairyland of food delights. How important I felt to be able to choose what I wanted. But more than the food, I savored the time my mom and I shared together. We were more than mother and daughter at those moments. We were friends whose enchanted selves mingled for a while.”
Here I must clue you in. My mother was fascinated with the positive psychology concept I developed: THE ENCHANTED SELF.
She understood its many aspects, one of which is feeling connected to another in a way that brings out the best of each of us as we each bask in positive feelings of delight. She had many of those moments with her mom and I believe that made her able to give me so many magical, enchanted moments.
And now I realize that what I have been calling cozy is also enchanted and magical.
It’s enchanted because we can cast a spell on connection, warmth, and love in so many ways and at some of the strangest times. It is magical because once someone has made us cozy we can make someone else cozy. Generation to generation we can pass down and share the instinct and wisdom that is required to make someone else’s day. And who is better to do that than us grandmas?
How will you make a grandchild cozy this week? Or your own child? What did you learn about coziness from your mom or grandma? What are some of the unique ways you can share coziness that reflect your personality and wisdom?
My mother’s stories can be found on Amazon in her book: Feel Good Stories by Bernice Becker which she published at 83!
About the author: Guest contributor, Dr. Barbara Becker Holstein
Sometimes friends and colleagues call me ‘The Enchanted Self.’ That’s because as a psychologist in private practice for over 35 years, I’ve developed a form of positive psychology called THE ENCHANTED SELF. I’m not enchanted, but I do have many ways and ideas to help all of us feel better through all stages of life. These methods help us recognize our potential, no matter what our ages, grab on to our talents and find again and again the emotional energies needed to be creative, resourceful, resilient and to live joyfully.
As a woman, a grandmother, and a psychologist, I’m excited to share some of my knowledge and wisdom with you. I’ve written many books, including two books for girls, ‘The Truth, Diary of a Gutsy Tween and Secrets, Diary of a Gutsy Teen. Also a book for adult women, ‘THE ENCHANTED SELF, A Positive Therapy. I’m a filmmaker also. My short films about girls, tweens, and teens have won many awards. Often based on my two books for girls, they are greatstepping off points for moms and grandmothers to share with their kids. You can contact me at email@example.com or via my website www.enchantedself.com.