I have three children and it amazes me how they are all so different in many ways. I remember my oldest daughter who is 19 years old now. Once she was able to walk, anytime I would try to snuggle with her or hold her, she would stiffen up and aggressively wiggle her body out from my arms. I would secretly wonder why she was like that. I think I needed to hold on to her more than she wanted to be held. She was perfectly happy though so I let her be.
Then my second daughter was completely different. I pretty much carried her on my hip until she was four years old. I remember my then mother-n-law telling me that I needed to put her down or she would never walk. I cherished each day and the fact that she liked the comfort of my arms. I knew that eventually she would be grown and I would miss those days.
Then there is my son. He’s a little bit of everything but he has a kind heart and he always makes me feel cared about. As they have gotten older, of course any kind of hug in public is taboo. I don’t mind because I remember being that way with my parents as well. It’s a teenager “thing” I guess.
There is a book I once read called “The Five Love Languages” written by Gary Chapman. It explains that on some level we all have certain things about us that we want or need in order to feel loved or appreciated. If you break it down, most of us can be categorized down to one or two of these languages. The thought is that we tend to treat others the way we want to be treated. If we observe how someone treats us, it is a clue to what their love language is. For instance if your spouse or significant other is always giving you gifts, maybe that is a clue that they themselves love to get gifts.
Here are the languages:
- Acts of Service
- Quality Time
- Physical Touch
- Words of Affirmation
I think that over time, our languages change depending on our life experiences or just our level of maturity as well. When I was young and in my first marriage I admit now, that I needed a lot of quality time because I had grown up in a home that I felt invisible in and I needed that to somehow make me feel like I mattered. Now that I’m older I feel almost smothered by the thought of having to spend so much time with someone because I have been so independent for so long now.
However, no matter how long I have been independent or confident in who I am, the thing I miss the most is touch. I am wired to want it. I do not recall any memory of my mom hugging me or saying that she loved me. Physical touch is something that I seem to need at the deepest level. There is something about someone hugging me that touches something deep within me. I’m not talking about a hug from a stranger, because that can just be creepy! I mean a hug or a touch from someone who knows me, and knows my heart. Maybe I like this person as a good friend or maybe I might like them as more than a friend. Our hands can give so much when we use them to share how much we care about someone. Our hands can carry the power to end an argument or convey our love for someone in one moment if we use them in love.
A hug or a touch makes me feel cared about and protected because there are days when I feel like I am alone and there is nobody here to protect me, from whatever it is that I am worried about. I am getting older and I don’t want to be alone the rest of my life. I long to give someone everything I have in this heart of mine, which as an adult who has experienced a lot includes:
- Trust– If we love someone, trust is the number one element that allows the other person to be who they are and it allows them to live life to the fullest and maybe, just maybe it makes them love us more because we are saying to them:“ I know you love me. Now go have fun because I know it is me that you will come home to.”
- My heart– Once I love someone, nobody can divert my attention or make me want something different than what I have already been blessed with. Nobody is perfect and I learned a long time ago that I am not going to make somebody change who they are.
- Confidence– That I can spend a day by myself without worrying everything is going to fall apart if I don’t spend each moment with you.
- Laughter– because life is short and things can change in a moment. It is good to laugh. It is essential.
- Touch– because without it, I keep the love that I was meant to give away to myself and what good does that do?
So I remember the days when my children were young and I used my hands to nurture them or comfort them when they needed me. Now when my children surprise me with a hug out of the blue, or when someone I care deeply for touches me or wraps their arms around me in a protective way, my heart smiles and I am reminded of how much I love them and how much I am loved in return.