Hug Your Parents

And your kids, and everyone else

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When was the last time you hugged your parents?

I hugged my mother yesterday. She’s visiting for a couple of weeks to help out after the birth of my second daughter (yay). By sheer luck, my birthday fell right in the middle of her visit. So, instead of one special birthday to celebrate, she got two!

She was so excited. As was I. If I had to guess, it’s been a decade, maybe more, since she’s been with me to celebrate my birthday. We’re close, but unfortunately not geographically. Of her 3 children, I flew the farthest from the mother’s den. We try to visit as much as possible, but traveling with a big family isn’t always easy.

She threw me a Cinco de Mayo birthday party with piñata-like decorations, fajitas, and margaritas. It was a home run. After the night had ended and everyone in the house was winding down, I bent over to hug her and to tell her thank you for the awesome birthday.

Later that night, while lying in bed, my mind wandered to the simple act of hugging your parents.

I thought about how much more I hug my mom these days. If we’re in the same place, you can bet she’s getting a hug. Time marches on and I don’t know how many hugs we have left. You never know, really. Life is unpredictable.

Then I remembered back to my teenage years. The shitbag stage. I don’t think I was a bad kid, but I definitely didn’t hug my mom as much as I should have. Especially given our proximity, the hug count was pretty meager. Typical teenage and young adult behavior. Picking fights. Rebelling. Resisting love. Striving to prove capable on my own.

Those teenage years were probably the worst time to slack on hugs because I’m sure it’s when she needed them most.

And lastly, I thought about how much I hug my kids. Pretty much every chance I get. I hug them tight because I know life is precious. And the unpredictableness of it all scares the crap out of me.

That’s when my engineer brain took over. I realized that a graph of hugging your parents probably looks like a U-shape.

I’m not an artist with a steady hand

You hug them an awful lot when you’re little. Then, you turn into a teenage shitbag. Finally, after years of questionable behavior, you arrive on the other side a better person, painstakingly aware of your mortality, and even more so of your parents’. That’s when you start hugging them again every chance you get.

Cherishing every moment.