I am a hugger. I come from a long line of huggers. We hug hello; we hug goodbye; we hug when we're happy; we hug when we're sad; we hug every chance we get. I am not a tree hugger, however.
I love trees; I just don't hug them.
I'm not sure you have come to understand this in your life, but there is definitely a correct way to hug. Please don't even get me started on side-huggers and back-patters. The correct way is to fully embrace belly to belly and hold as tight as you can. When Preston was a newborn while Hollie was living in Central America, Abbie and I went to visit to be a part of the blessed event and Abbie told me (as we were saying our goodbyes to leave) that I was hugging baby P so tight that she was turning red. I would not suggest this as an excellent way to hug a newborn, but what can I say? I was a grandmother saying goodbye and not knowing when I'd see her next. I have always, since the day they were born and until this day, hug my children and grandchildren unashamedly. We never had a moment when I felt I could not hug them in public when my kids were growing up. I just simply would hug them. I kept hugging them even if they were embarrassed. Ditto for my grandchildren. So what if they're embarrassed? Hugs ARE NOT a shameful thing!
When Hollie was little, a new line of dolls came out called Hugga Bunch. Do you remember those or am I telling my age again? Maybe you've at least heard of them. But Hollie got a Hugga Bunch doll for Christmas. There was really nothing special about these dolls that made them anymore lovable (or huggable) than any other doll; in fact, a few of them were a bit scary-looking! But they were made of the softest velour-like fabric so they were indeed huggable if for that alone. No sharp edges or hard plastic; just 100 percent lovable squishy-ness. And Hollie truly loved her Hugga Bunch. She loved her so much that she rubbed her little velour nose right off her face! I still have her today, and will include a picture of her if I can dig her out of the archives. I just cannot get rid of that babydoll she loved so much! I also still have Abbie's American Girl doll, but what can I say?
Some people think hugs are only just for those they love. Not true. I have hugged complete strangers when the circumstances called for it. I have hugged acquaintances, even those whom I might not have even especially liked but, if they seemed to need a hug, I gave it. Desperate times call for desperate hugs. A hug is the ultimate show of kindness. They say that touch is crucial for people, that babies need physical contact from Day 1 and may have emotional issues later in life if they do not get it. Why do you think they lay the naked baby on the mother's naked chest right after birth?! So my thinking is this: If I feel so inclined to hug someone, I do it. Who am I to say that a hug won't just be what gets them through the day. As a preschool teacher, hugs are huge part of my role. I hug those babies hello in the morning, if they cry or get a booboo, and hug them goodbye at the end of the day (if I can squeeze one in before they are whisked away; carline pickup can be a bit chaotic!).
But there are people out there who do not get their daily dose of hugs. Hugs are essential like the right amount of vitamins and minerals! Sometime it's children who are in a less-than-loving household, or elderly people who have outlived all their family and friends. There are a million other reasons why someone might not get the physical touch needed because they are isolated. This moment in our society is a time when that is probably especially true. Being quarantined is taking a toll on the hug quota! Even I have suffered. I get a lot of my hugs from my children and grandchildren (whom I've not seen in awhile), my preschool babies (whom I've not seen in a while), and my other family and friends (whom I've not seen in awhile). I tell my grandchildren that when I get to hug them again I am never gonna let them go. I'm sure they're dreading that moment! Thankfully I have my sister nearby, and we hug as much as we possibly can. Coronavirus or not, I don't want to die from a lack of physical touch either! You gotta pick your battles, people.
Hopefully you have a loved one with whom you're holed up right now and can hug on a daily basis. Don't you dare go through a whole day without hugging them. A hug can turn toleration into pleasurable cohabitation. A hug can turn a frown into a smile. A hug can make the difference between being blessed and being a blessing. When all this quarantine is behind us, why don't you plan to increase your hugging capabilities? Hug as much as you can, as often as you can. Because, really, it's a win-win for everybody. They benefit and you benefit and even those watching benefit. Watching someone give or get a hug inspires us to pay it forward in the hug department. I've heard many people say of a loved one who has passed, "I just wish I could hug their neck one more time!" Even I have said that about my own dear mother and father. Physical touch really is a basic human need, like water and food and shelter. Someone disagrees with me I'm sure, but that just proves they don't know nuthin.'
If you're not a hugger, commit to becoming one. It might annoy some people, they might even try to pull away, but don't you dare let them! They most certainly will get over it...
...and will even be a better person for it. Guaranteed.
I have learned that there is more power in a good strong hug than in a thousand meaningful words.
- Ann Hood
Posted by CC
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