Father & Child

© Durga Yael Bernhard

Here is a linoleum block print that I carved and printed many years ago, when my kids were little.  I remember noticing their particular body language in interacting with their father.  It was different from how they snuggled into me.  Their father was a jungle gym, a monkey bar, a platform of strength.  My children’s soft little bodies soaked up the masculine energy of their father’s body as much as they craved the nurturing they got from me.  He was an invincible fortress to them.  He held them up higher than I did, and showed them the world from a place “other than mother”.  I was the center of their universe; their father was the safe vehicle from which they began their journey of separation from me.

I remember reading The Continuum Concept by Jean Liedloff, which was like a bible to me as a young mother.  This book outlines the expectations of a human infant from an anthropological perspective.  Human babies, as evolved for countless millennia, thrive on firm handling.  They need to experience passive stimulation, including quite a bit of movement – whole body movement, which provides changes of perspective and lots of tactile sensation.  They want to be handled firmly, not delicately, by confident, protective hands.  Their father provided this – and while my hands were free, I tried to capture it in an image.

Happy Father’s Day to all those loving dads out there!  Your little ones will grow up in the blink of an eye.  Enjoy this precious time of their childhoods.

This image is available as a poster or card.


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