Hugs. I sometimes take them for granted. I get them all the time and think nothing of it. I hug L every chance I get, much to her gradually rising dismay. I have even gotten used to receiving hugs from one of my dogs, in her own doggie way, and just accept it without thinking. Hugs are a natural way to show affection, every day, to those you care about, esteem, or even just half heartedly like. To me, it's such a basic thing and part of every day life for me. I think it is for most people who live in a normal family dynamic.
Last year my husband's work gave us the opportunity to mentor, spend time with, encourage, and generally be some part of some students lives on a semi-regular basis. These girls live in a group home. (I will not mention the name to protect identities.) We are pretty much encouraged to spend as much time with them as we feel comfortable doing. T and I thought this would be a wonderful opportunity for us as well as our daughter. We have so much love to give and not knowing whether we will have another child, we saw this as a perfect way to give some of our love to others. We also thought this would be a great way to teach L, from an early age, that life is not just about her.
We briefly took a break over the summer and missed seeing the girls. The three of us have so much fun visiting and doing activities with the house that we were usually doing something with them two to three times a month. To not get that over the summer, while they were all at their own homes, was a little weird for us. We missed them all while they were away. Last night we had our first get together with them for the year. We planned out some of the fun activities we'll be doing with them. We'll be hay riding, pumpkin carving, snow tubing, hockey game watching, craft and cookie making fools with these girls. And I cannot wait!!
Despite all of the fun things we have planned, last night I was reminded of one of the things in life that is more important.... The need to feel loved and cared for. The girls, well I consider them "our girls", are in a home with twelve of them together. All "parented" by one couple. I find that it's hard, at some seconds in time, to give L EVERY single little bit of attention that she needs. I cannot imagine how hard it must be for this couple to do so with twelve girls and two of their own kids as well. So suffice it to say that these girls need all the love we can give them.
While visiting last night I noticed one of our girls moping around the house. On a normal night this girl is an all out sassy firecracker, with a walnut shell exterior. So I knew something was wrong. She was feeling cranky and sleepy from dealing with her miserable allergies. My "mom instinct" had me reaching out instantly to offer a hug. Usually this girlie stands still for a brief hug, never fully giving a 100% to her end of the hug, and is on the next thing in thirteen seconds flat. Last night she threw me off balance. We stood in the middle of eleven other girls, who were all animatedly talking, and hugged for a full three minutes. She held on for dear life, which nearly brought tears to my eyes. To me, that ability to comfort and be there for her was amazing. When we were done I quietly whispered..."Good night special girl." She walked away with her eyes glinting and a sniff goodbye.
This made me realize that to give a hug is something so simple. Elementary, truly. And a person never knows when their hug could make the world of a difference to someone. Thinking back about this it makes me realize, again, how blessed I am...... Despite all the medical issues I may or may not have to deal with on a day to day basis I am blessed with so many people in my life who love me enough to hug me on a regular basis. Hugs!
Image found here.
Image found here.