I remember the time when my kid hadn’t started speaking yet, he spoke to me with his hugs. I love you Mom hug, I am happy to play hug, I am excited to see something hug, I want to say something hug, Hug me tight hug, hug me even tighter hug and a lot more. I could hear everything he wanted to tell me, without him saying a word.
When my kid was little, hugging me was part of his existence. I don’t think he even knew that he was hugging me and that was the best part about it. I would wait for his tiny chubby arms to circle around my neck or my legs (since they were easier to reach for a toddler). The hug when he saw me after a long day at school was not just spontaneous, but also well-articulated. We both had missed each other equally and nothing communicated that feeling like a hug did!
As my kid grew older, different times called for different hugs. Finally, home after school hug, just to be with Mom hug, I want a treat hug, do you still love me hug, I don’t feel good hug, I just can’t sleep hug, before the first day of school hug, can I watch some more T.V hug, I don’t want to do this hug…the list is endless.
The bottom line is hugs are the most precious gifts that you get from your kids. It’s a wonderful feeling that says so much and makes you feel loved and wanted by your kid.
My personal favorite were the bedtime hugs. After reading the bedtime story, he had been tucked into bed and the lights were turned off; he still needed to hug me so that he could sleep well. My hug is the blanket of security for him and that made my presence so significant. The feeling of reassurance that my baby is growing fast but not fast enough to not need my hugs anymore, I loved that feeling.
My secret favorite however was the keep me away from the stranger hugs. More of a clinging action than a hug when your kid sees a new visitor at home or at the playground and refuses to leave you, literally sticking to you like cling film! As much as I encouraged my kid to socialize I also enjoyed being the center of his comfort zone.
As the mom of a teenager, I do not get too many hugs right now. I long for it. But when I do get lucky to be hugged, I relish it like the last scoop of peanut butter in the jar, tediously scrapped to fill up the spoon! I understand that teenage is probably one of the toughest parts of growing up. The surge of hormones does not make it any easier for the kids. Being seen with your Mom is not really a “cool” thing. Being hugged by her in front of friends is undoubtedly a nightmare! Fortunately, hugging your Mom when you are at home, with the rest of the family is still acceptable. Thank goodness!
Though my kid can vocalize his feelings now, hugs are still used to do some of the talking. They are used to communicate appreciation, gratefulness and love without having to say it in words. While there are more arguments between us now, we still bring closure through hugs. Hugs have played a pivotal role in shaping our relationship, piecing many unspoken things together and let it make sense. Silently, hugs say a lot. It continues to stay on the shelves as one of the common ways of expressing affection, establishing a connection even when you are navigating the tricky teenage zone.
I understand that my teenager’s sense of independence is not letting him rely completely on the power of hugs. I am glad though they haven’t gone completely missing either. Occasionally I still get the I love you mom, I just don’t say it hug, why can’t you understand me hug, I don’t want to eat home cooked food hug, I really need to go for this sleepover hug. The reasons for the hugs have changed and they last less than ten seconds now. It does not matter that there are fewer and shorter hugs now. It matters that they say much more than before. Just like my baby, his hugs have grown up too.
Surabhi Kaushik is an Indian writer, based in Charlotte North Carolina. Her work has been published in several portals such as www.writer’scafe.org and www.yourstoryclub.com. She is part of various writing groups in Charlotte and is closely associated with “Write Like You Mean It”, a writer’s group in Main library, Charlotte, North Carolina. She also leads a Fiction Writing group that meets every month at Main Library Charlotte. She has worked extensively in multiple advertising agencies in India before re-locating to the United States of America in 2015.