When I was first married, I incorporated a lot of physical affection into my relationship. That sounds weird. HUGS. I'm talking about hugging. I got so used to having someone around to hug all the time that when I'd take solo trips to visit my family, I'd find myself having this automatic impulse to reach my arms out and needing a body to wrap them around. Which also sounds weird. But it's true. I felt a strong need to hug. It was a little awkward being like "uhh.. I need a hug." But fortunately my mom is a hugger and was happy to oblige.
Fast forward to now when Julian and I hug approximately 800 times a day. Basically whenever we pass each other. A lot of the time a declaration of "I just can't stop hugging you!" or something like it accompanies. Is it weird? Who knows. Do I love it? Yes, I do. Also, I read somewhere that a child needs four hugs a day for survival, eight
for maintenance, and twelve for growth, whatever that means. But if it's true, then Julian is not only surviving, he's thriving. He and I are both properly maintained, and growing exponentially. Also I feel like I even more recently read that, specifically for teenagers, hugs should last at least 8 seconds. This could get weird for some people. It seems to far surpass the appropriate "hug break" moment and lingers into awkward territory. I don't have a teenager so we'll see what happens but for now, the long, lingering hug is nooo problemo. I love it and it is very good for me. Plus Julian's entering that sweet spot height where he can just nestle into me and I don't have to bend over very much. He's going to pass me by so fast, gosh dang.
I've had a few experiences lately where I was standing with a friend, words were exchanged (not "words," just words) and a hug window seemed to open for me and I took it by saying, "let's hug." It felt right. I feel the hug announcement is totally acceptable and might even be appreciated for the reluctant hugger. It could have come in handy for me, i'll tell you. But it's an invitation and keeps me in the practice of hugging even if I'm not naturally inclined to go hugging whomever I interact with throughout my day. I don't hug everyone and the hugging window is brief and subtle, and can easily go unnoticed. But I think it's an important skill to hone and habit to perpetuate. And I'll just keep practicing at home with a squirt who fortunately, like me, just can't get enough.