I'm an affectionate person by nature. I'm a "hugger," if you will. This holds true with relative strangers and members of my family, none more so than my husband and son. I love nothing more than cuddling with Munch, and I soak it up even more now that he's an active toddler who someday will flinch at a kiss from Mommy.
My husband and I are affectionate and always have been. Once, a family friend commented to his wife that he'd like her to tug at his arm hair like I was Hubs' (a little weird, but I do like to tug on the arm hair).
Now that we're parents, our displays of affection haven't ceased, and I have no plans to stop anytime soon. I'm not saying we like make out in front of Munch, but we kiss and we hold hands and hug. I think it's incredibly important for Munch to witness.
And he's clearly taking it in. Take last night. Part of our usual bedtime routine involves Hubs and I swaying with Munch in his darkened room to some Veggie Tales before we lay him down to fall asleep. I hold Munch and Hubs rubs his back. Last night, Hubs and I kissed over Munch's head and as he sometimes does, Munch pulled our necks back together for another kiss.
Then, when he was seeming to pull us forward again and Hubs went to kiss me, Munch said his own name--as in, No, Dad, kiss me! It was so sweet and so precious and a perfect little quiet moment.
My parents were affectionate when I was growing up. My mom greeted my dad with a kiss at the door every afternoon. I remember times watching from the backseat as they held hands across the center console in the car. It comforted me, to see my parents showing outwardly that they enjoyed one another. (Though their marriage ended, I still believe those moments were genuine and true and critically important to my upbringing.)
I want Munch to grow up in a household where people love one another, show it, and say it. I know that when Munch is a grumpy tween, he'll likely roll his eyes at his parents kissing each other or him. There'll be screams of GROSS and averted eyes when Hubs and I kiss. But even if he doesn't realize it, seeing us love each other outwardly will have an effect, and a good one.
My dad has said that his parents never told him they loved him growing up. Thus, my sisters and I never told our grandparents we loved them, though they hold such special places in our lives. Recently, I've started telling these now-80+-year-olds that I love them when we part after a visit. Usually, they say something like, "Well I appreciate that." But last time, my grandma said, "I love you too."
If not now, when? We are scared to tell people "I love you" because it makes us vulnerable. We're hesitant to hug for fear of being pushed away.
But the only thing that matters in this world is loving one another, and making sure those you love know it. And the only way for them to know is to tell them and show them.
So today, hug your kids, hug your partners, hug your parents, hug everyone you love. Let your kids see you plant a wet one on your spouse's cheek, or rub her shoulders, or smell his hair. Nuzzle your toddler and pat your teen on the back. Show kindness and let those you love know how much you value them. If not now, when?