Hug Habits

Summer tree hug

There is nothing like watching a young child in the midst of play and living in the moment. They are not thinking of the past or the future; they are just being. If you catch them at just the right time, you will witness the beauty of innocence where there is no fear, no anger, no worry.

For anyone who has not had a chance to see this; watch any number of children with a sprinkler and discover a photo opportunity  to capture the feeling we all would like to experience.

I do not think I am alone in feeling great discomfort in watching children experience fear when there is no imminent danger. Sometimes it is not fear and it is just apprehension. Either way it is a blockade to the free spirit that is within them. Being active with a child who is apprehensive is like watching them tiptoe inside of their own personal bubble of life to avoid it from popping and risk being close with you.

This is what I felt at times when the very children who now call me mom did not feel comfortable with me because I was not their mom and they were not in the home that used to be their only home. Even though there was a level of intimacy and we had great fun on the trampoline, playing games, chasing each other or going to the park there was still a small morsel of intimacy missing.  It was a remaining piece that kept them in their protective bubble.

So I did what most people and experts would advise not to do because I  am an emotional risk taker. I made a rule in our home that every time the children saw me, they had to come give me a hug. This was and I assume is still very against the rules of blending a family.  I did it anyway because I knew that the apprehension would become a habit or it would have to be replaced with another habit, such as hugging. It worked.

I do things like this all of the time because I have little comfort in complacency and feel that it borders on stagnation which does not shed light on an opportunity of growth. If I always did what was expected, accepted and advised, I may risk my loved ones from experimenting with life and avoid the roads less traveled because I did not show them how to do it and reap the benefits.  This is not to say that this path has no risk.  It does. However, I think there is more at risk to accept what is as opposed to what could be.

So, when I implemented, in a loving way, that I wanted a hug when they saw me I knew that I would pop their protective bubbles.  I did this so they could feel and breathe in the same air I did and I could feel and breathe in their air. When this happened, we were finally able to wrap our lives around one another. 

And, other than watching children play in a sprinkler, there is nothing like breathing in each others air where there is no apprehension and you can experience feeling like one with each other.  We are one family.

Ivy L.


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