Hugs by Proxy

Fleeting Hugs

When I picked my girls up from camp this summer I got two types of hugs:

From the 11 year old The Running Hug: a huge smile spread across her face when she saw me and then she sprinted towards me with a full on embrace that easily lasted 30 seconds. That was a hug.

From the 14 year oldThe Stiff Back Half Hug: somewhat of a semi smile emerged before she could force it back down while one arm kind of made its way awkwardly around part of my back coupled with the greeting “Hey Amy”. Was that a hug? Was it? At least it wasn’t The Heisman Hug. That’ll rip a mom’s heart out! Wait…Did she just call me Amy in public?

Sadly, I know that my ‘authentic’ hugging days with my girls are fleeting. I also know, however, they’ll come back to me full fledged when they have kids of their own … and those kids start acting – dare I say – like they do?
ClichΓ©,  but … I. Can’t. Wait! (Insert evil laugh!)

But this did get me to thinking…

The Enemy

My kids (mostly the older one) are at an age where they don’t necessarily want to hug me or for me to hug them. I get it. I don’t love this new concept … but I get it. Sometimes I force one on them because I think they need it (whether they admit it or not). Sometimes I give them their personal space because I think they need it (whether they admit it or not). But the season of unlimited, unabashed, carefree, I love my mommy, can’t get enough hugs is turning. Mainly because of this: I’m the enemy. Guess what? I’m supposed to be the enemy. They need to know I’m going to hold them accountable for poor choices. They need to have a little bit of fear in their heart. They need to worry “What will mom think if I do this?” I’m TOTALLY okay with that. But this new role as their personal antagonist comes with major push back, teen aggression, disgust at my mere presence and the occasional “I hate you” muttered under their breath … sometimes muttered over their breath on purpose so I can hear it. All the feels.

That’s fine. Bring it. Gonna love you anyway.

Proxy Hugs

I think hugs are vital to emotional survival, especially at this age. I was at church the other day and ran into two former students. These boys, now 12, happened to be in the same first grade class that I taught. One student is just a natural hugger. He hugs me every time he sees me and has for the past 6 years. It was a no brainer that we raised our arms out to each other at the same time. The other one I used to hug more when he was younger – but he’s a little more stand-offish now. He tends to air an “I’m too cool to hug” vibe. But I saw him watching this whole exchange and would never want him to feel that he wasn’t worthy of a hug from me – especially when his friend had just garnered one. So I held out my arms to him and said, “Bring it in, but only if you want to.” He smiled at me, then kind of laughed, then went straight in to that hug without abandon. Hmmmm … Different people have different personalities. Duh. I get that. But I can’t imagine ANYONE who doesn’t want to feel loved. This age needs love. Because they ARE going to push boundaries. They ARE going to fight for that independence they think they deserve (LOL!!!). They ARE going to get mad us at. Nobody really wants to hug in the middle of an argument, right? So there’s my dilemma.

Here’s what I’m suggesting: Hug my kids for me.

No, not strangers. C’mon, y’all. Let’s not start that argument. I’m talking about your tribe. Everyone (I hope) has a tribe? My tribe includes moms that treat my girls like their own and dads that become coaches and mentors. It includes aunts and uncles and grandparents and cousins. I know them. My girls know them. I trust them. I love them. So my peeps – and you know who you are (In your head you are already thinking “She’s totally talking about me!” πŸ˜‰ and you’re right! I am!! πŸ₯°) – Get a good one in! My girls already feel a comfortable bond with you. You’re a safe place for them. And unlike me, you won’t get the push back that I do because you don’t have to discipline them, make them do their homework, harass them to pick up their dirty clothes, nag them to walk the dog they assured me they would walk. You can just show them love and support during these ages that are flush with insecurity and fear. So sure, hug my child. Go for it. Make it worthy. Don’t half ass it. You have my blessing. It doesn’t have to be the Running Hug … that would be weird, especially if it’s you that’s running. It could just be a classic Side Arm with an Extra Squeeze. That’s cool! And I will, in turn, hug your babies as well. I call this the Parent Hug by Proxy. My kids are getting that parental love they need when they don’t want it from me. And if you are getting your own push back from your kids – you are getting a Kid Hug by Proxy. The other special thing about the Kid Hug by Proxy is that several of my tribe have no kids by choice or by pain. You still have valid wonderful love to give and I’d consider it an honor if my child was worthy of your hug. 

I’m seeing this as a win/win for us all, don’t you think? πŸ€·β€β™€οΈ

So y’all…please. Hug my kids. At least until they fully come back to me. ❀️

11 Comments on “Hugs by Proxy

  1. Oh my goodness, this made me cry and have all the feels. I still get hugs from my kiddos which I count as a huge blessing. I give hugs to my students, and your words gave me the confidence to continue to do so. Thank you so much for this post!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. AMY.

    I just received this email from my youngest, who is now living as a full-fledged adult in NYC. You are the first person I thought of when I read it… These days are coming for you, too! CURSE WORD ALERT! Blue language not deleted because he is now and adult and I’m all about the free speech. πŸ˜‰

    Hey mama

    Richard Brighi
    12:40 PM (2 hours ago)
    to me

    I’m at work thinking about all the bullshit I did in middle school to seem cool and I want to apologize to you for begging you to buy me clothes or school supplies or anything that I thought at the time would make me seem cooler. With the benefit of hindsight, I now know that I wasn’t destined to be very cool at all until college, and anyway none of that stuff would have made me any cooler or more likable or more fun. I figure you probably didn’t love having to talk me out of expensive stuff with logic when I wasn’t quite clearheaded enough to understand it, and I know you didn’t love sometimes caving and buying me that expensive stupid stuff in the end.

    My sincerest apologies for being a brat and thanks for your unending love and support.

    Love you!
    Baby Evan

    Liked by 2 people

    • I love this mo much!!! What a fantastic letter! And what a great job, mama, that he was able to look back and see what a phenomal job you did despite his ‘push back’ and tell you about it. All the feels. πŸ™‚


  3. Awww!! You’ve made me remember to take all the hugs I can get from the kids right now. Because they still want to hug. I know how the teenage hormonal girl thing goes – been there done it myself, but I secretly hope that teenage boy is different??? And that maybe, just maybe, he’ll still want to give his momma frequent hugs like I get now!!!

    Liked by 2 people

    • You know – each child is different, right? I’m not sure that my youngest one will ever stop hugging completely. πŸ™‚ And little boys sure do love their mamas. πŸ™‚


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