I grew up as an only child, and we were not a touchy-feely family. My mother rarely hugged me. Dad was more affectionate, but not necessarily physically affectionate. Dad used words and gave freely of his time. He showered me with both praise and attention. Long conversations and time spent asking about my day, and caring what I had to say, was how my dad showed his love. I don’t remember ever seeing my parents hug, or kiss, or hold hands. It just wasn’t part of my family’s repertoire. When I met T, he wasn’t much of a hugger, either. We didn’t hold hands a lot, and we certainly weren’t that couple that made people around them uncomfortable with public displays of affection. The lack of physical affection didn’t bother me. In fact, it didn’t even cross my mind.
Somewhere along the line, surrounded by fairly stoic people, I become a toucher. I’ll admit it. I’m a hugger. As I look back on it, I think I was a latent “touchy-feely” person. That probably explains why pets have always been an important part of my life. I need something to touch. I need something or someone warm close to me. I need to give love physically (and I don’t mean sexually!) I need to give, but most importantly, I need a response. Pets are great in that regard. If you hug a dog, they wiggle, and melt, and love you right back. Always, without fail, dogs want another hug. One hug is never enough.
For a long time, I kept my hug reflexes to myself. I reigned it in and kept it hidden. Once I became a mommy, though, that wasn’t possible. If dogs are good to hug, babies are a million times better! 🙂 I could never, ever get enough of my kids when they were babies. I loved to touch their sweet little cheeks and their silky hair. I love to hold them when they were sleeping. I loved their outstretched arms reaching for me, and for a hug. When the kids grew older, I worked part time in our local elementary school. If you’re a hugger, then that’s the place to be. My office was right next to the nurse’s office, and there was always a little kid who needed a hug.
My babies are all grown now, and it has been years ago since I worked at the elementary school. As I have grown, changed, and aged, my hugging has blossomed. It’s not a secret. I don’t hide it. I love to hug. I love physical affection, and I’m not ashamed to admit it. My life has been blessed with an abundance of fellow huggers. It’s not unusual to get a hug at the office or with a friend at lunch. Certainly, a hug is one of the first things I get when I walk in the door at the end of the day. My beautiful daughters are gifted huggers. Our specialty is a group hug, which must be announced in unison. “GROUP HUG!”
Tonight I had an evening meeting. I came home and picked up T before heading back downtown. He hung out and did a little shopping. We met for dinner after I was finished. A couple of co-workers came along with us. I smiled at T across the table, impressed with the changes that have taken place in him, and in our marriage, over the past couple of years. Here he was with me, hanging out and having a good time. I remembered a time full of conflict, arguments, and resentment over anything that took me away during the evenings. A hurdle has been successfully crossed, and it was a big one!
We came home to a house full of kids, a mess left from their dinner, and two crazy, wonderful pets. We talked to everyone, straightened up the kitchen, and hustled Lola off to the shower. Once everything was satisfactorily under control, a load of laundry had been started, and the living room vacuumed, T and I headed out for our evening power walk. I enjoy these times together, talking, walking the streets of our childhood, the streets we are preparing to leave soon. We talked and planned. As we walked along, T reached for my hand. While I had already felt calm and relaxed, his warm hand reaching for mine deepened those feelings. I felt safe and cared for. I felt connected to him and loved by him. Oh, how I need to feel those things…