The Magic of Hugs

I realized a little while ago that I am no longer a big hugger.  I used to be, but things have changed.  I’ve always liked them, but the last few years I’ve learned to (almost) live without them.  (By the way, I’m talking about authentic heart-felt hugs, not the quick hug you use for pleasant greetings.)  For a variety of reasons that I won’t get into right now, the only meaningful embraces I get these days are from family… and unfortunately, most of them live on the other side of the country from me.  So that limits those occasions…

The sole exception of family in town is my daughter.  So while she means well (and she does enjoy being close to me, whether it’s to be picked up because she doesn’t want to walk or sit on my lap so I can read her a story), she’s still quite young and still learning about hugging.  I give her hugs, whether it’s to comfort her when she falls, help her deal with a scary part of a movie, or just to show I care… but since she’s so young, you don’t expect her to reciprocate.

I was kind of curious about this and began to wonder if there were any significant consequences to not hugging.  According to psychotherapist Virginia Satir, “We need 4 hugs a day for survival. We need 8 hugs a day for maintenance. We need 12 hugs a day for growth.”  Yowzer!  Apparently, I should be emotionally dead, my heart seriously deprived of oxytocin, low self-esteem, extremely malice, a walking zombie, and a few other things from The Little Book of Hugs, since I’m nowhere close to that!

Dora-lovin' Princess

And perhaps I am… to a certain degree… but that’s another story.

But things seem to be slowly changing and it’s thanks to my little bubble blowing, Dora-lovin’ princess.

Recently, she has started to give me hugs when I drop her off at her Mom’s house.  I don’t request it.  She just does it because she wants to do it.  They’re short and sweet, but they obviously mean something to her.  Last weekend, I even received a phone call in my car, that she’s crying because I left without a hug (because she was distracted with toys), so I had to return to receive my hug.

It is a very strange feeling to me, almost magical, that even a hug from a 3-year-old can have such a great impact and leave me in great spirits.

Certainly a feeling that I cherish.