I don’t come from a family of huggers, even though I was naturally born one. The funny thing is that I didn’t know I carried the recessive hugging gene until I moved up to the Bay Area for college.
The drive from San Francisco to Orange County took about seven hours, so I drove home a lot those first few months. I loved the City but missed the familiarity of friends and family.
The visits eventually tapered as I settled into my new life. On a rare drive down I recall bitter sweetly my mom standing at the door, giddy with anticipation. When we embraced she whispered in my ear, “I’ve missed your hugs!”
In that moment it dawned on me. Now that I’m away, my mom had no one to hug.
When I was a teen I read an article that said we needed five hugs a day. While the number may be negotiable, the concept left an indelible impression. As a psychotherapist, I now know touch is one of our primal needs.
A simple squeeze to the shoulder will do, as will a warm embrace, holding hands or wrestling with kids on the floor. There’s no equating them, as each nourishes a different hunger. What matters most, is that you get your daily dose.