I was recently asked to name the one lesson that 2020 has taught me. Narrowing it down to just one was tough, as it feels like this year has brought so many.

Touch is the first sense we experience at birth, and it’s how we initially develop bonds, communicate and experience the world around us. Physical distancing during COVID-19 has forced us to avoid shaking hands, hugging and kissing one another, leaving us feeling disconnected and lonely.

But no one has felt this more deeply than our elderly. This past Mother’s Day, when I told my mom that we couldn’t hug, she said “I’d rather die having hugged my children than live like this.”

As a mom with kids that live abroad, I can relate. Travel restrictions have made it difficult for us to be together and I miss their “mama hugs”. Although we communicate daily, nothing can replace physically hugging and kissing them.

So if I had to narrow it down to just one lesson, it would have to be not to take touch for granted.