Thursday, January 17, 2008


Hugs are wonderful things. I wish there were more hugs in my life. It’s sad that N is now at the age where hugs from him are much rarer than they used to be. Not that a kid hug is an adequate substitute for a grownup hug, but even bread tastes great to someone starving.

My mom used to talk about the kids that she taught at school and how some kids wanted to give her a hug every single time they saw her. She thought those kids probably didn’t get too many hugs at home. It caused something of a problem for her because teachers have to be so very careful these days about not being accused of inappropriate behavior. She wanted to hug those kids, and she thought they needed it. She talked of stiffening involuntarily each time it happened, though, because of the fear of accusation. The fear meant she would limit herself to a pat on the back for the child without really much returning the hug.

I find that story to be particularly sad given how much I long for hugs these days. I also find it sad that while my mom is a big believer in hugging kids, she and my dad are not so much believers in it once the kids get to a certain age. I can scarcely recall hugs from either of my parents after my elementary school years. I know they didn’t hug me when they took me off to college my freshman year. I know because I remember the empty feeling it left with me that they said goodbye and just walked out of my dorm room. I wanted a hug then, just like you always see in the movies.

In the movies and TV, families hug. Families come together for an event and hug one another as they greet one another. Families leave events after hugging goodbye. But then TV and movies are just fantasy. The reality, or at least my reality, is that there are very few hugs in this world. W used to hug me, or maybe it’s just that he used to hug back when I hugged him. Now that I no longer initiate hugs with W, there are no hugs. N hugged me when I was in the emergency room last week. It was nice. He’s also hugged me a bit more this last week than he had been lately. He’s a good kid.

I have wondered sometimes about the homeless man who hangs out near my workplace. I wonder if anybody ever gives him a hug, and I wonder what his reaction would be if someone did. It is only my fear of the unknown that prevents me from walking up to him and hugging him sometimes. He looks like he could use a hug, even more than I could.


Serenity said...

My ex stopped hugging the kids years ago, it drives me crazy in a way that they have no idea that men can show any affection. I hug them as much as possible; my oldest isn't really comfortable with touch, but i think it's important to do it anyway, try to lower his threshold a bit. I read a long time ago that the least-touched demographic groups are teenage boys and elderly men. I wonder if that's still true.
I don't hug friends but i do so very much like sharing them with the FWB. Cannot get enough of that. :)

Bunny said...

My mother hasn't hugged me since I was a very small child. She does her best to not touch my sister or me at all. She does hug the grandchildren, but not excessively. My dad hugs everyone though, so it helped make up for the lack of affection from our mom.

Hug the homeless guy. It would make his day and might make a bigger difference in his life than you can even imagine.

Serenity said...

I'd hug him but if he has a mental illness he may be touch averse and it may not go as you wish. Ask first!! :)

Trueself said...

Serenity - FWB's are good for hugs as well as other things.

Bunny - Glad your dad makes up for your mom's lack of hugging.

And to both of you - I was going to ask Mr. Homeless this morning if I could give him a hug, but I didn't see him around then or at lunchtime. Now I'm hoping he's okay. Maybe he has someplace warmer he hangs out when it gets really cold like it is now.