I was always a hugger. I can remember at church on Sunday’s when I would see all the older women. I knew they had life savers in their purses, and I would charm them, give them a hug, and hope they would share their Lifesavers with me. See I never had much candy growing up, so Lifesavers were a bright light (especially after a church service).
In any case, I was never forced to give a hug to the older ladies at church. It was my choice. I have no idea what it would have been like for me if I was forced to hug them. This Daily Om titled: “Repressing the Inner Voice” talks about giving away our power. When we are forced to hug family members against our will. It will make me that much more aware when I have kids of my own, and make sure I do not put them in situations where they might not want to share a hug with another individual.
I know as I have gotten older, I am definitely aware of when I want to share myself with another. I am probably entirely more open with love and hugs than I was when I was younger, but it is still my choice. Kids are often in positions where they do not have a choice, and parents need to make sure they are listening when their kids voice their opinion that they are not comfortable. This is such a great end to this Daily Om:
“All we have to do is have the confidence to listen to our own voice and let it guide us as we make our own decisions in life and remember the necessity for balance.”
Balance? Yes. That seems to be an ever occurring reminder in my life. Balance. Balance. Balance. Be sure that you are not giving away your power and that you are not putting others in a position of giving away their power.
I just spent the weekend with my niece, Charlie (nickname for Charlise). I am utterly addicted to her. She has not even been gone for 24 hours and I miss her so much. What is it about little munchkins that make our hearts yearn for them?
My sister and I had a conversation during our last visit over a month ago, about being connected to children in ways that our parents were not connected to us. Part of that is about paying attention to their wants, needs and being present. I know it is a different era, but I grew up in one (of which I have said often) where my father felt that children should be seen and not heard. Maybe I was grossly offended by this, tainted, what have you, but I am definitely not going to have my kid(s) nor my niece(s), nephew feel that they should not be heard. Their voice matters. I watch the deep love my sister has for Charlie. It is so clear that Charlie is so loved. My sister does not complain, you can see her yearn for her time with Charlie, it is as if she knows so deeply that this precious time will not last, and she is going to make sure Charlie has a different childhood than she had.
Our childhood story is bigger than just not being heard. My mom had an at home day care when I was very young, and yet I do not remember her ever being (that I can remember) the touchy, hugger, cuddler type. My dad became more of a hugger once I was in college. My grandma was even less of a hugger. So, maybe that was why my mom was not much for cuddles. Fast forward to my sister and me. Before Charlie we were not really that into hugging. Yet, with Chris I am a hard-core hugger. I need my daily…well multiple times a day hugs from him. I love hugs. I want to start my day with one, I want to end my day with one. I would take a deep intense hug over a kiss any day. I strongly believe that somehow Charlie has made my sister and me connect on a deeper level. Almost like Charlie has broken the years of non-hugging brought about by my childhood family. Thank you, Charlie!
I wonder, do we give our kids what we never had? Did my sister and I crave that kind of connection and family that she is now giving Charlie? I love Charlie with a depth and yet I have only seen her a total of three weekends. Where does that come from? Where does that love so deep and so extensive show up and we know we are never the same without this precious munchkin in our world? We want to make them laugh and giggle. We want to cuddle, snuggle, and never forget their smell.
My sister and a good friend just had babies in the last two months. It is fun watching (well I guess more through pictures at the moment) and thinking about Chris being a father someday. It has also prompted me to be reflective about my relationship with my own father. It was not really a rock-solid relationship. We had hard times, we had good times, but through it all we had memories. Here are a few remembrances of my dad:
If I knew I would lose him at such a young age, I would have kept all the letters he wrote to me on Christmas Eve (aka Santa who ate my cookies and drank the egg nog). Of course we left out egg nog for Santa, my dad LOVED his egg nog. The letters from Santa though, I guess I got rid of them, and they were the few letters I had from my dad. It would have been fun today to hear his wisdom. Especially during a holiday he loved. I am positive his letters probably shared his best self.
I wish he had been here long enough to meet Chris. He would have inadvertently taught him about construction. Chris would have picked up things quickly and learned to leave the truly professional jobs for the professionals.
He would have fun talking to Chris about cars. His “Automobile Quarterly” was a cherished possession. The two of them would geek out, although he would probably talk Chris’ head off with his endless stories of growing up on his Dad’s car lot.
The only movie I can remember seeing with him is, “Who Framed Roger Rabbit.” Seriously? What was he thinking? Bad movie, Dad.
His blue pickup truck was, well honestly, a piece of shit, but it was his truck and it contained all of his endless notes, crappy construction items, odd-shaped pencils, tape measures, clipboards, and what I will never forget, the device you could wire to the horn and play my favorite ever – the Dukes of Hazzard theme song. How cool I thought it was to have that blaring from the truck as we drove down the street.
I wish I knew I had a short time with him. I would have gotten over the grudge I held for so long. Not that it would have been easy for him, but I would have made us talk through our differences.
I do not remember it as much as a kid, but as I got older and saw him less and less, he seemed to show his emotion more and more. If only that had started earlier on in my life. If only.
He was a good/big hugger. Maybe that is where I get it from.
He had an addiction to Ritz crackers and peanut butter. I do not share this addiction. It just makes me think of sandpaper and glue. Dry and sticks to your mouth. Lime chips are where it is at! Wish I could spoil him with my addiction.
He would have loved iPhones. Not for the email, or phone, but for the games. If he knew you could play Cribbage, Euchre, Scrabble, Solitaire, I can imagine how unproductive he would have become. I think he would have played me from wherever he would be living.
I used to be an intense hugger. Well, I still am, but I used to be with lots of people, now I am a lot more selective. Maybe time and the world has made me less of a hugger, but I remember as a very small child that I would hug with a fierceness and not let go. I am not sure what that was all about, but I can visually remember being a hardcore hugger. What happened? Did I learn that I had to be careful who I hugged? Did I not get hugs in return? I am not completely sure, but I know something shifted in my life and I became more aware and cautious about my hugging. Part of it saddens me. Why?
A hug is a wonderful thing. It can completely change a moment. You can be angry with your spouse, disagree, and they can encompass you with their entire body into a hug and it can make all the anger and frustration melt and ooze out of your body. A hug can essentially heal a moment.
A hug can comfort you. Have you ever had a time when you had no idea that something was bugging you and a friend or family member could tell that you need a hug? The moment you are embraced, you melt. You start with shedding a tear, and the comfort and safe arms around you turns you into a blubbering mess. It has happened to me with close friends, family members, and co-workers. A hug can release the most pent-up issues in life.
A hug can make you feel loved. In my marriage I am a hugger (well, we both are). Yes, I can share with you that of course I love the passion of a kiss, but a hug comforts, supports, and shares something deep. It reminds you that you matter. A hug can ground you and reinforce just how much you are loved.
Hug it out, release, and remember that you are loved. Right now. Today.