HUG: to press tightly especially in the arms; to hold fast; cherish; to stay close to
Sometimes I hug my kids extra tight.
Like when they scrape a knee or bonk a head and need a hug of healing. That kind of hug includes arms wrapped all the way around them with a gentle back rub and a tender kiss on the injury.
Or, when their feelings are bruised and need a hug of comfort. A hug that tells them they have a safe place to fall and a shoulder on which to shed tears.
Or, when they are scared upon waking from a nightmare and need to be assured that the monsters aren’t real. Those hugs must be firm because they are the hugs that prove the waking world is the real world and that the safety they feel in my arms is true.
But, sometimes when I hug my kids extra tight it’s not for them. The hug is not based on their need for healing, comfort or assurance. Sometimes I hug them extra tight for myself. Because of my need.
Like yesterday, when my heart was aching for the mothers who couldn’t hug their children. Mothers who packed lunches and backpacks, tied shoes, supplied coats and sent their children off to school only to have their precious darlings killed before they had a chance to eat the lunches packed for them that morning. Yesterday I hugged my kids extra tight because the hugs contained so much.
The hugs contain fear for my children’s future in a world full of violence and unpredictability. The hugs contain shame that I have not been motivated to action before now. The hugs contain pain for the mothers who unknowingly said goodbye to their children for the last time. The hugs contained relief for the safe return of my children. The hugs contain overwhelming gratitude for the blessing of another night of bedtime routines.