(This is, literally, the most touchy-feelly post you will ever get out of me.)
(Watch the whole thing, but my favorite part of the whole video is right after the 1:40 mark. FYI)
On one particular occasion, when I was little, I was being willfully petulant and angry with my dad about something (also known as absolutely nothing of importance). He tried to hug me and I yanked away, as moody children are apt to do, and he grabbed me and pulled me back, quite against my will. "Shut up and hug me," he said, which I did, and was suddenly not angry with him anymore.
When Melissa and Charlie were no longer infants but still little, one of my favorite things to do was to ball them up and engulf them as much as I could in my arms. There was the sense that I was making my love of them manifest in a silly little gesture, and I liked to think they enjoyed it even if they didn't understand the depth of feeling behind it. There has yet to be an end to my quiet sadness over the fact that Melissa's spindley length and Charlie's hulking mass now prevent me from doing this.
After a break up, I didn't see Mark until a couple weeks after the fact, when I drafted him into helping me move out of my dorm. He asked where the fellow was. Up to this point, everyone I'd told had reacted with shock and stunned silence. Upon hearing the news, Mark jumped out of the chair he'd been sitting in, dashed across the room, and hugged me. Two years later, that memory still sticks and sticks out.
This past year, I had a bit of a falling out with someone who had been a pretty good friend. I was annoyed but not upset, until I saw this person for the first time in a while and the hug exchanged was chilled and obligatory, without a trace of warmth. It was only then I realized whatever friendship had been between us really lost, and it was then I felt sadness over the whole thing.
When I first arrived here, one of the things I missed the most was simple physical contact, the kind my friends and family are rather lavish about -- pats on the head, on the back, on the shoulder, on the hand; pokes and punches; tickles; hugs. I didn't realize how badly I missed this until one day, after I'd been here at least three weeks, one of the sisters gave my shoulder a pat and I felt as though I'd been given water in the desert.
I look forward to seeing some of my clingy students, because they always hug me. One day early in the year, when being new and frazzled all the time was getting to me, one of those clingy girls passed my room on her way to another class, glanced at me, and stepped out of line. "You look like you need a hug, Miss C.," she said, and hugged me, and went on her way. I went on with my day considerably more relaxed.
When I came home for Thanksgiving this past year, several of my nearest and dearest came to see me. I met Mark and Becca at a shopping center that was on their way to my house because I needed to go anyway. Bec called me when they got there and told me they were in the mega pet store. I kept her on the line until I walked through the doors and she suddenly hung up on me, then appeared before my wondering eyes charging at me like a very friendly bull, and we hugged each other like we hadn't seen each other in years (which made the clerks at the counters six feet away feel a little out of place, I suspect), and it was one of the best hugs I've ever had in my life.
Now, why am I thinking about all these things? I haven't the foggiest, but that's the beauty of blogging: I don't need a reason! I can reflect on the blessing and importance of hugs simply because I feel like it, darn it, and you, Dear Reader, can read or not read, respond or not. Loverly, isn't it?