Move over Arbor Day. Make way for another holiday no one really knows about: National Hug Day. Because that’s what today is, namely the day we’ve set aside since 1986 to embrace, well, embracing. So, that close-talker in your office? The one who’s always up in your personal space while asking you if you saw the big game over the weekend? Give him a hug. The pessimistic lady who’s been bellyaching for weeks about all the snow? Nothing a friendly little squeeze can’t defuse. And that boss who didn’t give you a raise? Show him (or her) you’re the bigger person by waltzing right into his corner office and administering a hug he’ll never forget.
If they wonder what in the world you’re doing, just point to a calendar. “It’s January 21,” you should say. “So get over here, my friend. It’s National Hug Day.”
If only my daughters knew.
Time Magazine knows. They did a little piece today in honor of the obscure holiday. In it, Frances Romero writes, “Studies have shown that human contact is essential for healthy social, psychological and physical development. Babies who receive regular physical contact gain weight and grow faster than those who are neglected.”
But what about 3-year-old girls? Or 9-year-old girls for that matter? Lately I’ve not been able to buy a hug from either one of my daughters. My oldest one, I suspect, is too cool for hugs. She even refuses them from her mama. But my 3-year-old has no such pre-adolescent excuse. Because I know for a fact that 3-year-olds love to hug thanks to my boys.
But every time I try to snag one from my baby girl? She runs away as if her very life depended on it. I have found one way to get a hug from her, though. And that’s by pretending I don’t want one. Funny how as soon as she thinks I’m not interested, she suddenly becomes just that.
But National Hug Day is no time to play such mind games. It’s a time for an ernest embrace.
But if I’m to get one from my 3-year-old, I suspect I’ll have to do what I normally do. Pretend I don’t want one. Unless Dora somehow knows about National Hug Day. My little girl is addicted to all things Dora and would do anything the pint-sized, Spanish-speaking cartoon character said to do.
Even hug her daddy.