Wednesday, January 5, 2011


This may come as a shock to some of you, to others that I've hugged recently I apologize but you must know something about me. I'm not a hugger. Never really have been. There's probably some great psychological explanation as to why but for now we'll suffice it to say, I'm not really into squishing my squishyness into someone elses squishyness (and even less so if they aren't squishy at all!)

The one exception to this is my children. (For those of you concerned about our marriage we do our fair share of hugging.) But something about these tiny creatures we brought into this world have made me forget, or overcome, or just plain ignore my preference of not hugging. It helps they are so tiny and cuddly and well, squishy! There's that word again. Why is their squishy ok, but not other peoples' squishy? Well, I think I discovered something today that might help me understand.

My oldest son is no longer a baby, he is as far away from being a baby as he is from being on the brink of adolesence. It's scary actually. Today was his first day back to school from Christmas Break and yesterday we spent the whole day running around doing fun errands and the entire day he kept hugging me and saying "I love you Mommy" in a very quiet voice. I thought yesterday was one of the best days we've had in a LONG time. I thought it was because we were getting things done, doing them together, having fun and just relishing each others presence. And it was to a certain extent.

But really it ended up being so awesome to me because I was getting these hugs all day long. Getting so much love in return for the love I always have (though I don't always show it quite the right way) was fantastic. It made me feel, I don't know, extra loved, appreciated, special even. It's one of those feelings you want to seal up in a jar and keep it in your back pocket so the next time you get run over by life you have it right there to remind you why life is indeed so awesome.

Fast forward to this morning. I've been dreading this morning for a few days now as it means we are going back to waking the big boy up early and he is an absolute nightmare to get up and get moving for school. Well, trying to stay positive and focus on his friends and the fun parts of school I started to wake him up. Seeing him all cozy in his bed and warm and well just plain squishy, I wanted to jump right in and that's exactly what I did. I got into bed with him. Hugging him, quietly talking to him and loving on him until he started to speak back. It took us about 5 minutes and he was ready to get up. He dressed himself, ate his breakfast, was ready to brush his teeth & hair and get going to school nice and early. It was so refreshing and I thought, "wow, maybe we won't homeschool him, maybe we'll keep him in public school if he can be this positive and eager about it."

I started to pry a little trying not to dampen the mood, and he wanted to focus on making the line (so he walks into his class with all his other classmates, instead of his usual walk as slow as possible to delay getting to class on time). Other comments he made were the same, he doesn't have fun, he doesn't want to go, he only likes his two friends, school is boring, blah, blah, blah. So what was different? His outlook just seemed better, he seemed to be feeling extra confident, less bothered by disappointments, special even.

Do you see the connection? It was the hugs that made the difference. At least that's what I belive. Of course tomorrow will only tell if that's true and weeks from now when I'm in a sour mood and he decides he doesn't want to go to school for real, and years from now when he no longer appreciates my hugs, will there be something better to keep us connected and loved and special? I'm torn at this point between saying, "I hope so" and "Hugs will never go out of style for us."

So my thought about the squishyness. I think my babies' squishy is so tempting because it's not about them, it's about me. I want to squish them so I do. I feel love from it and I know they benefit immensely as we can attest to the change in our second son from being hugged & held so much. But when they are young those hugs aren't nearly as special as they are when they are older and capable of reciprocating the love that a hug represents.

So my breakthrough that will allow me to hug others more freely is that it's not about me. Wow! Why is that almost always the answer?