family, hugs, love, parenting, World Cancer Day

The Hug-O-Meter

I’ve been thinking a lot about hugs lately. How many hugs does a child need in his life in order to feel loved? And until what age do they need them? I notice that some of my kids are more huggy than others. The little guys, of course, love to be hugged. But my 9 year old also loves a good hug and loves to cuddle. My 7 year old is more stand-offish, more reserved. But certainly, he still needs those hugs as well. And my big boys? Well, the biggest one isn’t too huggable now, but I assume he’ll return to being huggable at some point. And my 12 year old still allows for it once in a while, but not too often.
So we appear to have a hugging window that lasts until the age of 8, 9, 10 or so. (And then probably reappears when they are done being cool teenagers, but I haven’t gotten that far yet.) And how many hugs is enough in that amount of time?
I’ve been trying to pay attention to how much I hug and praise my children. And, I’ve been trying to make room for that extra cuddle time. With older kids in the house, I don’t need to look far to realize just how fast time goes. So, in the morning, when I’m frantically making lunches and trying to get everyone going, I consciously stop what I’m doing (and take a deep breath) when the younger two come upstairs looking for a couch cuddle. I put aside what I’m doing and I take them to the couch for a few minutes of cuddles to start their day.
Who wouldn’t want to stop making lunches to cuddle with this guy?
When the middle boys come up, I make sure to give them a morning hug,. Sometimes, the 9 year old will come and give me a hug from behind when I’m busy cutting vegetables or doing something at the counter. And I’ve been trying not to say, “Sweetheart, I’m busy right now” but rather to put down the food, turn around and hug back. And when the big guys come up I try to send them out feeling good about themselves (no fights, no conflicts). Does this work perfectly every day? Certainly not. But it’s the goal that I strive for, and the more conscious I am about these goals, the more likely I am to come close to reaching them.
It’s funny. I was thinking about this hug-o-meter for the last week or so. And tonight, as I thought about it more deeply, I saw that it’s World Cancer Day. And one of my Facebook friends, who recently lost his very young sister to cancer, wrote on his Facebook page that everyone should go hug someone they love today.
Great goal. 
But let’s make it every day. 
Why not? 
I don’t know about you, but I don’t need a day designated for cancer awareness to be aware of its impact, and I don’t need a specific day to remind me just how important hugs can be.

Hug away…every day.

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