So, what makes a hug a hug?
I think hugs don’t always have to be two or more people wrapping their arms around each other. Sometimes hugs come in different packaging.
The reason I know this is that of my two kids, Younger Son is not a Public Display of Affection kind of guy. He’s not into hugs, and by the time he hit kindergarten holding hands with Mom was taboo. Older Son is a very openly affectionate person, in the usual manner, and has never been one to shy away from a hug.
This really bothered me for a long time until just recently, when I discovered that Younger Son hugged me all the time, just not with his arms. He’s rather a prankster at home, and I find that he often will poke my shoulder as he walks by…or nudge me. And, he likes high-fives. Lots of high-fives.
It dawned on me the other day that if I am really paying attention, Younger Son is hugging me every day, multiple times a day…just not with his arms.
This revelation makes me feel a whole lot better, especially in light of the news I received today from my dear friend “R”. She sent me a note on Facebook this morning letting me know why she didn’t make it to town this last weekend. Two of her older son’s best friends, and another friend of theirs were killed in a car accident this week. These kids were only in their late teens/early twenties. Yes, I called them kids…they are someone’s children, and so young that they didn’t have a chance to really live. Not really. Three sets of parents have just outlived a child, and will never have the opportunity get to know those boys as they grow into men and have families of their own.
“R” lives in a small community, so it isn’t just the parents who lost these boys…everyone lost these boys. Worse yet, it wasn’t like this was an expected death. These kids were strong, healthy boys who got in a car and just didn’t make it home, which makes it all that much more shocking and painful.
As I sat reading the message this morning, trying to find words to say to my friend, I realized there are no words. Nothing fixes this. They say time heals all wounds, but something I have come to understand is that grief is worn away like stones are worn smooth in a river. It takes a long time, and I only imagine the personal hell these poor parents are dealing with.
I generally don’t do this, but today I will ask my 18 faithful readers, and everyone else who happens by this little blog, to please send all the good vibes you can muster to these parents and their community. They could use all the help they can get.
So, hug your kids. If you have a kid who isn’t into hugging or other obvious displays of affection, be on the lookout for those behaviors that are really hugs in disguise…like frequent high-fives.