I like hugs. I always have. Maybe I’m weird, but I think hugs are grand.
- A hug says “I got you” and provides protection from fear of the unknown.
- A hug melts away the years that it’s been since you last saw each other.
- A hug provides a snippet of solace as tears fall next to a casket.
- A hug says “I empathize with you”.
My daughter likes hugs, too. She’s very physically affectionate, which is great, because so am I. We often will hold hands as we walk though a store. She will regularly come up to me and hug me when we are chilling around the house.
I give my daughter a long hug every night when I tuck her into bed. She can’t seem to get enough. “Dad, just one more!” she says as I try to pull away after hug #7. She’s recently taken to spending an occasional night camping out in my 15 year old conversion van that I use to haul band gear. I set her up with a sleeping bag, an air mattress, and an iPad with some movies. She takes along a carefully selected collection of stuffed animals and her phone and camps out in the driveway for the night. It’s early stages of independence for a 9 year old; I’m OK with that. She still wants a hug, though. “Dad, can you come out to the van and give me a hug before I go to sleep?” reads her text message. I’m more than happy to oblige.
On my way down to the van, it hit me…
I never received hugs from my parents. I was never tucked into bed at night. I never had that type of connection to my parents. I honestly can’t remember a single time where I received a hug at bedtime. Perhaps I’ve blocked out or misplaced those memories, but I would think I would have at least one or two memories of getting a hug and being tucked into bed as a child.
Typically, I was curtly ordered to bed, and then chastised if I didn’t fall asleep in 10 minutes. I can still recall my parents’ frustration with me when I would come out of my bedroom to use the bathroom an hour after I was sent to bed. Hmm…like I was going to be able to fall asleep with a full bladder… plus I had issues with bed wetting, for which I was often spanked, so it was definitely in my best interest to make sure all the pipes were drained before I succumbed to the sandman. Yet another ‘no win’ situation of my childhood.
One of ‘those’ sayings is that we all turn into our parents when parenting our own children. The thought of turning into my parents when parenting is positively frightening! I so don’t want that to happen, and I’m extremely conscious of how I approach topics with my daughter so that she knows that she is heard. It’s good to have realizations like the hug realization. I helps me to know that I’m not doing it like dear ol’ N-mom.