Updated: Apr 11, 2020
" I'm sorry Dad, we just want to protect you." Stated one of my girls. Both my grown daughters decided to self quarantine themselves from their mother and I. Since my eldest works in the local Hospital lab and my youngest just flew back home from Florida after being gone for three months. Their conscience felt better avoiding us for awhile. This broke my heart. I know, I know, it's probably the right thing to do. Survival is key. Yet, I have to tell you...my heart still hurts. I cannot seem to shake this sense of loss. As a jewelry designer, you can imagine how sentimental I must be. I may look a little intimidating to some, yet my kids know I am the first to cry at anything that moves my soul. For those of you non- huggers, who maybe did not come from an openly affectionate family, this social distancing may be no big deal to you. In fact, you may be secretly enjoying it lol. My mom and dad were always quick to hug. In our family we hugged to show love, acceptance, celebration, forgiveness and encouragement. This is a integral trait my wife and I have incorporated deep into our own family culture. Without hugs, for myself, it would be like having winter weather and leafless trees year-round. According to an industry magazine, the Scientific American, a cruel study was conducted many years ago to measure whether appropriate skin-to-skin touch (or lack there of) affected the health and development of infant humans. Basically, when the “non-touch” baby cried, those babies were fed, changed and turned, but never held or comforted. It was determined that the lack of physical touch, especially when under stress, was detrimental to human behavior. The negative effects and negative psychological behaviors of those forced to live in environments where appropriate, kind affection was rare or non-existent, was documented long into that persons adult years. They proved not being touched in a loving way seriously messed them up.
I am not saying that what we are going through now currently equates to abuse. However, may all this fear, and separateness not change our society forever. My wife jokingly stated to me, “We are all friendly to each other now, and we are all in this together, how about in a month from now?” Before all this, my family teased me about being such a germ-a-phobe. Yet, will this experience make worse or make me realize that showing affection is worth the risk? When this is all over, we will know if we have changed when we begin to hesitate shaking a hands, or we clinch up when receiving a hug, or think judge-mental thoughts when someone is coughing or not feeling well.