She Flung Herself Into My Arms
Last weekend I saw my family for the first time in nearly a year and a half. I have kept in contact with my six year old niece through FaceTime. I read her stories and walk her around town showing her the sights. Her favorite is the Henry and Mudge series. It is about a young boy and his very large dog. The stories are sweet and meaningful. They often make me cry.
We cannot deny that this past year and then some has been challenging for all. The word "challenging" seems like an understatement. I never wish to repeat this again. I point out that I live alone. Not that I want to. The man I am keen on remains untouchable due to pandemic travel restrictions. He, too, I have not seen in a year and a half. Which brings me back to the theme of touch and the heading of this blog post.
For the first few months of the pandemic my son lived with me. He would give me and I him, the occasional hug. When I was able to secure funding to start up rehearsals I was able to touch my dancers during rehearsals. Most of us were comfortable giving hugs. I knew how safe they were being and they knew I was being safe as well. We basically lived in bubbles. I have also scheduled regular massages. My dancer body needs them and my person body needs them as well. I am certain I will come back and edit this post with numerous references on how touch is necessary for human survival. Back to the story.
When funding dried up and revenue streams were bleak rehearsals stopped. I no longer saw my dancers. People were still unwilling to even hug. We waited and waited for vaccines. When my parents and I were vaccinated I headed to Vermont to see them.
The first person I touched was my father. We almost lost him due to sepsis and he is half way through his recovery. He shuffled towards me. I gently touched his face and gave him a soft hug. It felt good to feel him alive. He showed me the new swing he made my mother so they could look out at the mountains. It is beautiful. By the end of the weekend his spirits were up and we walked around the fields together. Transformed in front of my eyes. I am grateful he is recuperating.
The second person I hugged was my mother. I touched her face and gently pushed the hair back from her eyes. She hasn't been to a salon in over a year. I have never seen her with hair this long. She hugged me like she hasn't hugged me since I was a child. And I hugged her back.
The third person I hugged was my niece. On that Sunday I met her and my sister Sharon for a walk on beautiful trails in the back woods of East Montpelier. When my niece saw me she full on ran and flung herself into my arms. I cried small tears of joy. Over the next two hours we held hands, had snacks, built fairy houses and danced in a swamp and on a bridge. I felt restored.
So, now back to touch.
When we are first born most of us are placed on our mother's belly and within moments are nuzzling around for the breast. It is instinct to know this is where our nourishment comes from. Those of us who are breast fed have stronger immune systems (scientifically proven). We touch faces and hair while being fed whether by breast or bottle. We hand hold as children, as lovers, as adults, as siblings, as friends. We make out and snog our way through young adulthood until we find the one we want to settle down with. Sometimes that works out, sometimes it doesn't and then we have to snog all over again to find the right mate/partner. We kiss foreheads and cheeks. We rub backs and shoulders. We hang on tight with a forearm to guide an elderly person and keep them from falling. We lift up those who cannot get off of the floor or the ground. We lay side by side and look at the stars or the moon or the northern lights or the planes or the clouds. We touch.
She flung herself into my arms....
I will add all of these words to my task list.