Thursday, July 20, 2006

Why hugs are important

I read somewhere that every person needs to give or receive 14 meaningful touches every day. Apparently, it keeps us in "touch" with not only each other, but our own bodies. People who don't get their touches get cranky. They have more stress and can suffer insomnia. No kidding, I thought. So that's why I like to fall asleep with one hand on the cat.
But a meaningful touch is even more important to our kids. A hug is great, but so are pats on the back, shoulder and foot rubs, and my personal favorite - "squeezes." Squeezes are something Daniel and I incorparated into the bedtime ritual. "Hug, kiss, squeeze" - and his little hands clench my upper arms as tight as he can. Only mom gets squeezes; dad gets the "big hug."
And touches between mom and dad - especially in front of the kids - are just as imprtant. It's from his dad that Daniel learned to hold the door open for his mom. And when he sees us hug, he just has to be a part. Amazingly, we all fit in the recliner - although it's a little less comfy when the dog gets into the act.
So is it any wonder that on nights when I can't sleep all I have to do is lie down next to my sleeping baby? Twenty minutes of lying quietly, listening to him breathe and stroking his fingers or hair and I'm ready for peaceful dreams.
The power of touch, indeed.

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