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.