Today marks the next step on the road back to normal, or as near normal as possible. We can meet 6 friends or two households inside, eat indoors at restaurants and visit cinemas amongst other things. Today also marks the day we are officially allowed to share a hug.
In my family a hug accompanies hello, I love you, well done, how are you, goodbye, so to have not been able to hug anyone beyond my immediate household for over a year has, for me been incredibly hard. My family – mum and dad, siblings, nieces and nephews are close, suffocatingly so I’m told by ‘outsiders,’ who find it odd that we all talk most days, holiday together at least once a year, celebrate all major milestones like birthdays and Christmas together and before the pandemic saw each other weekly.
But as desperate as I am to share a hug, I will be waiting for another couple of weeks. I have now had my second jab, as have my parents, but I won’t be hugging them until my immunity is at its optimum, two weeks after the second jab. I will also make my hugs a lot shorter than before, I will wear a mask, turn my face away and weather permitting, will hug outdoors. But even with these caveats it signals a start of our return to a near normal.
Like everything we have been denied throughout the pandemic, I didn’t realise just how much a hug means to me. Touch is one of our strongest senses, a squeeze of the arm often signals more than words could ever say, touch lets people know we care and makes us feel happy. So today if you are able to share a hug with a loved one, relish it, take comfort in that warm embrace, even if it’s brief and know that things really are getting better.