My daughter Amy taught our entire family a ritual that persists to this day. It happens whenever someone leaves our house for any reason. It doesn't matter if we're walking outside to get the mail or if we'll be gone for several days.

When Amy was young and she saw any member of her family walk toward the door, she would immediately run to our side and plead, "I need a kiss and hug!"

Amy's request could not be taken lightly. She simply could not bear to see any of us leave the house without an intimate show of genuine physical affection. Mind you, not just any sort of hug and kiss would do. The hug had to be the wrap-your-arms-around-the-neck variety, and the kiss had to be one to knock your socks off. You could not fake it, because Amy would keep calling you back until you got it right.
Once, when I was in a hurry, I tried to sneak out of the house before Amy noticed. But Amy had extra-sensory perception. When I was halfway out the door, she appeared out of nowhere, grabbed my leg, and held on for dear life.
"Just kiss my leg," I said, trying to shake her off. "I'm in a big hurry, Amy. I'm going to be late." Amy would not let go until I did it right.
After all this hugging and kissing stuff, Amy would move into the next phase of her ritual, which involved racing to the front-room window, parting the curtains, and waving. If you didn't wave back, Amy would cry, hard, for a solid hour.
Amy trained her family well. No one slammed the front door without hugging and kissing or raced out of our driveway without looking up at the front-room window, waving and throwing kisses.
Amy's little sister Ashley took night classes from her older role model. So soon instead of one voice screaming, "I need a kiss and hug!" we had a vocal duet. It took twice as long to get out the door.
All this good-bye stuff and waving business used to bug the tar nation out of the whole family. We were always saying things like, "Amy, I can't. I'm in a hurry. I'll hug you when I get home. For heaven's sake, Amy, relax. I'll be right back. Oh, Amy."
But Amy won out in the end. Because of her persistence and insistence, the whole family readjusted routines and priorities. We all gave ourselves a few extra minutes before we left because we knew parting was such sweet sorrow at our house.
All this attention by our twosome had a way of making the rest of the family feel rather downright loved. And once you get used to it, hugging and kissing isn't so bad after all. In fact, if Amy and Ashley happened to be busy playing with their dolls and didn't notice one of us leaving, we'd search through the whole house for those two sets of soft arms before we felt like facing the cold, cruel world out there.
"Where are Amy and Ashley?" I heard my older children, my husband and myself say when we left the house.
What we meant was: "I need a kiss and hug."
We all need to be acknowledged and cared for. Though we quit asking for it as we grow older, we all need lots of love and someone standing in the front-room window blowing kisses when we close the door and walk away.Pin It