We had another nice weekend. Our son’s end-of-season Little League party on Saturday, church Sunday morning and a great visit with Ashley’s friends last night. Kind of a low-key weekend. I could get used to this! The weather was hot – not sexy hot, just hot! (This is a family joke. Don’t ask!) The air is filled with the scents of everything in bloom – orange blossoms, jasmine, plumeria. It is intoxicating and I would love to share it with you, but couldn’t find a scratch and sniff app for my computer.
This morning, after everyone else had headed to work and school, Tina (our sweet overnight guest) and I got a chance to sit down and chat over, what else, a cup of coffee! She is one of our daughter’s ‘bestest’ friends and so easy to talk to. We got to chatting about books (she’s reading something by Eugene Peterson), families (a very interesting topic) and affection and how we all display affection differently.
Some of us are action people – doing things for someone to show them that we care. Some of us value time spent together, that one-on-one face time. Others of us love gifts. Big or small, these tokens mean a lot! Then, of course, there are those who value physical affection. This was the one I found hardest. I used to be a bit of a prickly pear – I need my physical space. Then I married a snuggler and, wouldn’t you know it, gave birth to three more! I learned to let down my guard from a world-class cuddler – my husband of 28 years.
When I’m sitting at my computer and my 14-year-old, 5′ 11′ daughter comes over and sits in my lap, I have learned to stop and snuggle. When my oldest, an adult herself now, squeezes in close on the sofa, I have learned not to tell her to move over (much). When my boy comes up and gives me a bone-breaking hug I zip my lip and hug back with equal gusto. Even the pets get more scratches and hugs.
I know some of you may be thinking, “what is she complaining about? I would kill for a bit of physical affection, just some human contact”. This is what I have realized. Be patient with me, I’m a slow learner. Even if we spend time, give gifts, do for others and affirm them, nothing can replace physical touch. We must have it. Babies won’t thrive without it. God made us as physical beings with an innate need for touch.
As we get older, we tend to become more guarded with our displays of affection. And yes, this is a good and appropriate thing to learn! But, we still need to remember to touch – a pat on the back, an arm around the shoulder, a hug, a kiss, a snuggle. It can truly make someone’s day, to feel that connection with another human being. (If this is really uncomfortable for you, start with a high five or a fist bump.)
This week, reach out to someone with a little bit of that physical affection we all need, and if you see me, I’ll take a hug!