My kids are huggers. I share this with complete open and honest abandon because … I can.
As the mother of children ages eight and five, I can still get away with it. They are still too young to be teased by friends for words their mom said in the paper. They’re still in the world of having friends discover Ms. Hammond’s picture is in the paper.
So I guess it’s fair to say I need to write about these embarrassing topics before my time expires.
During my tenure I’ve been able to watch my editor’s daughter go through the discovery process of what her ‘mommy does for a living.’ Like most professions, growing up in this office makes our children a little jaded in comparison to their peers (regarding the newspaper). This office is where they patiently wait while their mommy ‘finishes up,’ color to pass away time or use the potty before heading to an after school activity. It completely lacks the cool mystique many may have about the old brick building which occupies South Third Avenue.
Through the years our Editor has shared countless stories of her daughter’s curiosity as to how she knows so many people, why her camera was always around her neck or why she must share so much in her column space.
Fortunately for my two, this is now the only space I occupy in the paper. So, I may know a few people, but not anymore than the next active mommy and column writing does not require a camera around my neck. Now as for the ‘over sharing,’ that’s where it may get a little tricky as they get older. In that area I will tread lightly, but for this week I’m all about ‘over sharing.’
Truthfully, I still hang on to every hug minutes after it’s ended. I love that my son will still openly hug me in the hallway of his school and that his sister feels it’s the last thing she must do each night before leaving her brother’s side.
A hug, it’s such a simple thing which brings such peace and joy to the soul all at the same time. Studies have actually shown a number of health benefits one gains from a simple hug including that hugging makes us happier. Hugs actually increase the level of oxytocin. This hormone is a trigger for bonding and caring responses, which makes one feel calmer and less anxious.
Well, maybe that explains why I walk away smiling every time one of my children’s arms leave my body.
I should probably also share that I too am a hugger, so they get it honestly. I wasn’t always this way. I was respectful of others’ personal space … Once.
But, as I’ve shared before, losing a loved one can change you and that’s what happened to me. After losing three close friends by the time I was 21, I realized being less guarded (in the way of hugging) suited me just fine.
Now, I’m not completely clueless and I do understand that this is not comfortable for all my friends. So often times I forewarn the recipient with and apologetic, ‘Sorry, I have to hug you.’
I’ve even had occasion to actually have the recipient say prior to my apology, ‘I know, you’re a hugger’ or even better (to my children) ‘You’re a hugger, just like your mommy.’ Confession: that sentence makes me smile.
After all there are worse things one could fear in the way of ones personality flaws, right? Sometimes I tell myself that could be the only hug that person gets all day or better yet, they may have needed it but no one was willing to take the chance.
Granted as a responsible and understanding parent, I am (slowly) teaching my children the appropriate and inappropriateness of our little ‘hobby’ of sorts. They are coming to accept it. It’s a bit harder for my son, as the male figure. Handshakes seem to be the way of the world and well, he’s not completely comfortable with the ‘germ’ exchange but we’ll get there.
So what does all this mean really? It’s simple, hug somebody. We’re all so busy connecting via technology, that I truly must believe there is someone in your personal circle just waiting to have that ‘connection’ with a loving soul. Be that soul. Be the person who causes someone to walk away and drive off with a smile that they can’t explain.
It costs nothing and the value, well, it’s just plain priceless.
Teresa Hammond is circulation manager for The Oakdale Leader, The Riverbank News and The Escalon Times. She may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or by calling 847-3021.