One day when I dropped my son off to school, a little girl in his class came over to greet him with a giant hug and some happy words. My son bared it, the girl walked off and my son looked up at me and said, "These girls - they always want to hug me."
My son's school is technically a hug-free zone (for the students - teachers are definitely allowed to fulfill the children's hug requests because it is still pre-Kindergarden). On this particular day the teacher ignored the little girl's hug because I was standing right there and my son didn't push her off. But, we did have a conversation around hugging later that day to make sure he understood that it was OK to say "no" if he didn't want to be hugged.
"The only girl I want to hug me is you and Nana," he told me.
My response back to him was that I love hugs. I love them from him, from Daddy and even from my coworkers (we ask people before they join our team if they are huggers or non-huggers and respect those wishes, but I for one love working somewhere where I can get a hug whenever I need one.) I told my son that the reason I love hugs so much is that because they help keep us happy and healthy.
Which is mostly true. It's really touching that keeps us healthy, but I thought I would stick to hugs. In this long piece by the New Yorker, you can read about several studies that involve the power of touch and the way that our brains can tell the difference between a massage chair and an actual hand massage. (Warning: The first part about the babies in Romania is really sad.) It was fascinating to read about the ways touch is needed to keep us at our peak condition - from infancy all the way through advanced age.
So, for me, I will keep accepting (and dishing out) those hugs and home and in the office. And I will take every opportunity to cuddle up with my men at home.
Are you comfortable with hugs from friends and coworkers? Tell me in the comments.