The importance and power of human touch

I’ve been thinking a lot about the power of human touch today, for a couple of reasons.

This last week I had a mammogram. It’s not that I actually wanted one, or felt that I needed it, but I’ve gotten to the age where my doctor has been pestering me for a few years to get it done. Luckily enough we have a mobile mammogram unit that goes from business to business so women can get their mammograms done during work hours without having to schedule time off. So, I signed up this year and it was an odd experience.

The lady who did performed the procedure was quite the Chatty Cathy, and I quickly realized it was a good thing. For you ladies who’ve not had it done yet (and you men who always wondered), it’s not as simple as just flopping a boob on a plate and having it squished down by another plate so you can have an x-ray taken. You actually have to get as much of the tissue close to your ribcage into the picture as possible, so the technician will actually scoop your boob up, and reposition (translation – PULL)  it farther onto the plate and then put her hand on your back and push you closer in. Sometimes she’ll actually have to do it a couple of times to get it right. The reason it was good that she was chatting and engaging me  in conversation the whole time is that it was distracting enough that, while it was weird, it made the procedure go that much quicker. I’m not accustomed to having my chest manhandled in this manner, and it’s off-putting being touched like that. Not that she was rough at all…quite the contrary. She was as gentle as could be, and pretty caring about the whole thing, really. The people who do these procedures really are pretty special folks….this is not a job for just anybody. They have a gift for putting people at ease by voice and by touch, which makes it easier on everyone.

I happened to speak to a young lady I work with at The Red Big Box Store one night, and we got to talking about her mom, whom I know from working at The Blue Big Box Store. I sure do miss working with her, and I told the young lady that she should give her mom a hug from me to which she replied, “I don’t hug my mom!”, with kind of a giggle. This young lady is sixteen years old and is at that point in her life where it’s not cool to hug your mom. So we had a friendly chat about why she should hug her mom, just because. By the end of the night, I’d convinced her to give her mom a hug from me, and she grinned. I think she secretly likes that her mom will hug her all the time, but just can’t bring herself to admit it…typical of someone her age. The power of giving hugs is really not something you can measure with any accuracy, but I am quite certain that it’s something that no one should have to go without…both for the hugger and the huggee. If it’s the last thing you ever do, hug someone, because that is not only a mental memory, but a physical one too. Sometimes hugs don’t always come in packaging that looks like a hug, but is really a hug in disguise. Pay attention to those touches that are really hugs in disguise, because they are just as important, like the “high-fives” Younger Son is so fond of giving out. My kids don’t like to be hugged either, but they will tolerate an arm around their shoulders, a pat on the back, etc. It’s nothing hard to incorporate into your life…make the effort. Even if your kids don’t return a hug, they still need them.

Something I’ve discovered as being important to me is just the quiet touch of having your hand held. I am so very lucky that The Flirt likes to go shopping, and he likes to hold hands while we shop. My ex husband wasn’t into small physical expressions of affection like that, and I didn’t realized how completely starved for it I had been. Some would say it’s a small thing, but small things mean a lot. Last night I went over to his house to watch movies and, while we didn’t necessarily sit right up against each other, at one point he reached his foot over and put his toes on top of mine.  Not playing footsie, but kind of a hand-holding except with feet. It was a sweet gesture, and I dig sweet little gestures like that.

Here’s hoping that you have lots and lots of hugs and hand-holding in your lives. It’s made all the difference in mine.


Life is full of little trade offs…The trick is to find balance.

As all of my Faithful Readers know, I have two jobs. I work at the Cube Farm by day, and The Big Box Store by night…the blue one. I think you know what I’m talking about.

Lately, I’ve had thoughts of defecting to The Other Big Box Store. The red one, with the bulls-eye.

I have a friend at The Cube Farm who has been talking to me about switching over, and I think I just might do it. I have to say, though, that I have been at The Blue Store for long enough that I’m comfortable there. The whole problem with that place is that it’s impossible to get your work scheduling straight, it’s disorganized, dirty and they have such a high turn over rate that there is never enough help. As a result of not ever having enough help, many of us “Floor Help” end up cashiering instead of keeping our departments straight. I hate cashiering, and my right elbow and wrist hate it too.

Every time I go to The Red Store I marvel at how clean it is, how every employee has a scanner to use and that things just seem to be more orderly in general. It’s so tempting to defect, but I would be giving up a lot of benefits I get at The Blue Store that wouldn’t be available to me at The Red Store. Hm…lots to ponder.

Life is full of all sorts of trade offs, and some have been very worthwhile. Let’s take last night for example.

I picked up The Flirt, and we went shopping last night. We bummed around the mall, just going from one store to another looking at stuff. At several points he grabbed my hand and held it as we walked.  Wow… have you got any idea how long it’s been since a man has picked my hand up and held it? Oh…many more than I can count.  That Flirt is full of all sorts of delightful surprises, and I’m looking forward to finding out what else he has up his sleeve.

So, what’s the trade-off?  I gave up time with my boys at home for the evening.

I think the whole trick is to find balance. Sunday evening The Flirt came over for pizza and movies, and we all had a good time. Hopefully I can find and maintain just the right balance, and not let my social life get the better of me.

I think we can do this… Well, I guess we’ll find out!