A lot has changed in the world in a very short period of time. From a global pandemic that overnight practically changed how as humans we operated, behaved and interacted day to day. To a bright light spotlighting the darkness that exists around inequality & racism.
After months of isolation, uncertainty, sadness and a roller coaster of other emotions, there is one thing I really miss. Simply put, the ability to give (or receive) a hug. I know it may sound silly, but google it. There is actual research and findings that validate how hugging is good for your health and well-being. And I’m missing a hug right about now.
I’m not an over-hugger (at least I don’t think), but growing up in an Italian family the notion of saying hello and goodbye with a hug and kiss is what we did. And it goes beyond family, including close friends that are like family.
But today is a different day. What used to be hello and goodbye, I miss you, good seeing you, see you soon… always included a hug. Today it does not, it’s missing a hug. At least not beyond the immediate people you live with. It is one of the things I miss the most since this whole not-so-normal year started. It’s such a simple, yet incredibly powerful gesture that says so much.
In lieu of that hug, I’ve resorted to Facetime, moms night IN via Zoom, snuggles on the couch during movie night, and thankfully a puppy joined our family this past Christmas. He gives us all the snuggles and more during a time when the world feels so out of sorts.
Birthday parades and surprise drive-bys are a thing now. Despite having been part of a few parades, my eyes still well up at the sight of friends. I try to say hello and hold a conversation, but my emotions take over. I can’t get more than a few words out. My throat clenches. I quietly gasp for air as I try hard to fight away the bubbling emotions inside and the tears in my eyes. The frustration, sadness, fear. Just when I think I’ve gotten to the place of acceptance where this new norm is different, I’m continuously reminded by all of the subtle things I miss.
As the world re-opens and re-defines normal, I’m cautious, hesitant and even uncertain when seeing people for the first time. Hugging is as subconscious as saying hello or waving. Especially when you haven’t seen family or friends in a while. It’s been a long road of emotions from anxious to scared to sad. A hug is always the remedy, but it’s not time yet (for me).
In the meantime, there are a few things that help me stay positive. In times like this, I try hard to focus on what I have instead of what I don’t. Keeping a gratitude journal for one is a regular habit. It’s actively seeking out the small things, like groceries available on Instacart (WIN!!) or homemade pizza on a Friday night. We’re eating all meals at home, so going around the table to share our “thanks & grateful” gets the kids involved too. This hasn’t been easy on anyone and celebrating daily wins together helps us stay connected as a family.