I had never truly experienced the wonder of hugs before we came to live in England.
The French do hug between parents and children but that's about it. We seem to find better to leave saliva on each other cheeks... A gesture both incredibly intimate and yet more than often completely devoid of any meaning.
Now the English hugs, that's something! The first time I experienced the full power of the hug I badly needed it. Just that. The hug. The warmth. The conveying so much in so little.
We had just lost our first baby, our first boy. We had not long moved in England. We didn't know anybody.
So there we were, me even afraid of leaving the house most of the time.
It was Sunday and we were going to church, to a community we were just starting to know. K., who later became a dear, dear friend, didn't say anything but just hugged me, with tears in her eyes. One of these fierce, tender hugs, that aim to envelop you totally in love and comfort.
A hug is both deeply meaningful and physically comforting. Hugging releases oxytocin, the love hormon, which makes you feel good, helps you to relax and numbs pain too. That's why a hug is the best thing to give to anyone in general and to children in particular. When they're hurt, when they're upset, when they're frustrated, when they're cross, when you're cross. I don't think that to ignore a child who's having a tantrum is the best way to deal with the situation. Ignore the cause of the tantrum maybe, but hug the child!
Come on, you, give me a hug!!!