It’s no secret I’m not a hugger.
It’s not the way I’m wired.
Whilst I love to snuggle with Boatman (a little bit), and have big cuddles with my kiddies, it’s really not my favourite thing.
In fact, quite often, I do it under duress.
Now my aversion to hugging is usually restrained to those I don’t know, have only just met, or that I see all the time. Let’s face it, if we catch up a lot, we don’t need to hug; saying hi is perfectly fine.
I like to think it makes it all the more special when I do hug people.
Like when the excitement of DPCON12 turned me into a hugging machine.
Or when a good friend left Darwin recently to see the world. She also is not big on the hugs. In fact, when I warned her that I was going to do it, there was concern from those present that the world may implode, but thankfully it didn’t.
We all survived just fine.
It might come as a surprise that this hugging thing of mine, actually even extends to my kids.
It’s true; I’m not even big on cuddling my offspring.
I’ll admit, the littler they are, the easier it is. I had no issues when they were infants. Ava is always cuddled (but she is exactly like me and not a huge fan), and Bailey, who is my boy, is hugged several times a day. The older girls however…. Well it’s easy to get busy and not love them physically more than the requisite good night kiss and cuddle.
I’ve mentioned before, (albeit briefly) the idea of the five love languages. In a nutshell, the idea is that, just like languages that we speak, love is communicated in different dialects and fashions. (For a more exhaustive explanation, check out the series of posts on Life on a Hill.)
The 5 love languages, or the five way people speak and reciprocate love are
- Physical Touch
- Encouraging Words
- Acts of Service
- Quality Time
Most of us have one or two ‘love languages’ that we prefer, and others that we don’t care for quite as much.
In my case, physical touch is way down the bottom of the ladder.
Unfortunately for me, I live with at least two people, for whom physical touch is of the utmost importance. It’s the easiest and best way to communicate love to them; anything else just doesn’t quite get them message across.
It means that every day, I have to make the choice to love them in the way they best see it; I don’t have the freedom of saying ‘well that doesn’t really work for me.’
Apart from those two, there are also three others in the family, who need their mothers arms in varying degrees. Whilst Ava is most certainly her mothers daughter, and not a snuggle bunny like the others were, she still needs cuddles and kisses, just like my two older girls do. It’s not enough that I leave the hugging to Boatman, to whom it comes easy; I need to take some responsibility myself.
So I’ve set myself a challenge.
A hugging challenge.
My goal is to hug all of my children at least once a day, spontaneously. By that I mean not at bed time, not first thing in the morning, or when I send them off to school. Just at some point randomly, during the day, for no other reason except to show them that I love them. Even if it is not their primary love language, I know that the complete change in me will communicate absolute volumes to all of them. It will speak of my desire to be a better mother, and go beyond what comes easily or natural.
But I want to go one step further; I want to encourage you to do the same thing.
Pick one of the love languages and speak it; the one that’s hardest for you.
Maybe you don’t find it easy to speak encouraging words: so speak them.
Buy small gifts, make a card, or pick flowers.
Surprise your children or partner by unexpectedly serving them by doing something they usually do. (Hard for a busy mum, I know :))
Take five minutes every day of just one on one time.
Whatever you find hardest, do that. Make a choice to love the best way you can.
I’m sure it’s going to be worth it.
What’s the hardest love language for you to speak?