There are certain people who, when I see them, my heart leaps because I know what's coming ... a nice, warm, loving hug. Within this hug is not only love, but celebration of friendship and joy in seeing and being with that person.

Perhaps one of the best huggers I know is Bailey. He is an awesome, amazing, thoughtful, loving teen who makes my day every time I see him because he's just as excited to hug me as I am to hug him. Despite facing more challenges than an average teen, Bailey seems to always take time out to find out how others are doing...and to offer a hug.

Some of my favorite hugs are those that come after not seeing someone for a long time - the spontaneous I-can't-contain-my-love-for-you type of hugs, like when Alia (photo above) reunited with her friend Sammy at Camp Calumet a few years ago. The sheer joy on his face, and the fierce determination to not let him go on hers was priceless to witness. 

I love it that most of my children still hug me, and have come to the realization that we need to hug more. One of my children in particular isn't a huge fan of hugs, or of being touched for that matter, but he did give me one of the most precious gifts I've ever received for Christmas one year - a hug ticket. 

Hug people today. People you love, people who do nice things for you, people with whom you're having a disagreement, your children, your mom, your dad ... not just when someone deserves a hug, but especially when they might not deserve one. That may be exactly when they need one. 

God, thank you for hugs - for the way they communicate love and comfort to others while making us feel that love and comfort in return. Please help us to be kinder and gentler today - to offer hugs and love even when it difficult. Inspire people to hug others today -especially those who haven't received a hug in far too long. 


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