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The Best Hugs

March 20, 2010

My youngest child is four years old. My boy. Lukas.

He is a love. Well, to me anyway. Although he and his sister (my ten-year old daughter Anya) bicker with each other constantly, he has nothing but kisses, snuggles, nuzzles, and compliments for his mama.
We decided to put him in preschool this past year. For several reasons, really, the most significant being that he’s whipsmart and was getting bored with me at home. He would sit on the couch and watch Spongebob while holding my hand, kind of like a little old man. Sweet, but not very stimulating for either of us. Plus there’s only so many times one can take apart the remote and the phone.
Lukas did not initially take to preschool. He cried. He screamed. He wanted his mama. Even when I taught him and repeated this mantra to him: “Mama always comes back.” This went on for several…months. Yea, I know. Fortunately, he’s at the same school as my daughter, they know us well, and they are wonderfully sweet, extraordinarily patient people. They would assure me “We’ve done this many times before, Mrs. Thompson. He will calm down eventually,” as they would drag him literally kicking and screaming from my car, or pick him up from the asphalt he had decided to lay down on and not budge from, as I would leave in tears.
And, ultimately, they were right. Lukas did calm down. He made friends. He found his way.
Now he leaves in the morning excited to see his two buddies, ready to show them his “sick” new shoes or to bring his lovely teacher a tiny little present from the outer reaches of his Transformers drawer.
Yet every day when he comes home, he tells me “Mama, I missed you SOOOO much!” and he sits in my lap and gives me giant, squeezy, heart-melting hugs. “What do you miss?” I ask my little, precious love. “Your eyes (he loves my green eyes)–and your hugs.” Hmmm….”Don’t you gets hugs at school?” I ask him. He looks at me with those giant, beautiful, huge, brown long-lashed eyes that all the girls will love and swoon over and says “No. Not really.”
Right then and there my heart starts to rupture. He tells me that his one little buddy and he hug each other hello and goodbye (so sweet–males hugging so easily) but that’s it. That’s the only hugging going on when that little precious boy is away from me.
See, here’s the thing.
You entrust your little beings to a school that you’ve chosen with intense research and with that check you write each month (or the taxes you pay). It’s a leap of faith, if you will, that they will care for and love and oh yea, teach your children well. But for the littlest ones, one would hope they they would also give them hugs. Lots of em. When he blows me a kiss goodbye every morning, I know in my heart that Lukas is being well taken care of: that he will be given two healthy snacks, that he is learning his ABCs, that he will get a bandage if he falls down. But will he be soothed and hugged if he misses his mama at nap time? Will he be told it’s all right to cry if he’s sad?
In short, will they see and even revel in the same preciousness in him that I do or will they just hope that he give it a rest already? Or is this more my issue than anything else? Am I really just being neurotic mommy and should I just have some vodka and give it a rest already?
His teacher tells me what we’ve known for a long time–that he’s so very, very smart. (But, as Kathy Griffin says, doesn’t every parent think their child is “gifted?”) She knows that when he gets wound up that it’s best to just let him work it out on his own because he’s also very, very stubborn. That most of the time when he cries there are no actual tears–and I know this is true because he does the same thing at home. He’s a little “furian” as my husband calls him, a name he adapted from that Vin Diesel (hottie) sci-fi movie–“defiant to the end,” which is apropros here.
So obviously my boy is healthy, happy, and knows his numbers. He comes home happy from preschool, for the most part. When I pick him up, Lukas literally stops whatever he’s doing and runs at me full speed and leaps into my arms where he hugs me with all his might, sturdy little arms around me tight as he can, sweet kisses on my cheek.

And that, my friends, that–the running at me with pure joy on his face just to see me; the forgetting whatever he was involved in that was taking his full concentration to get to the person that he can’t wait to touch; the long wait through the day for the giant hug that I am so lucky to be the the recipient of–that makes my worries about the hugs all okay.

Because our hugs are the ones that count.

Please follow me here and on Twitter @RachelintheOC.

  1. aaawwww~ you know how I feel about hugs~ and it's a joyous feeling when your child hugs you tight. {also grandchildren} I LOVE your tweets about the little hands put on each side of your face, and the delightful things that Lukas says to you! Thank you for sharing, sweetheart. dani ddh77

  2. This is a great post, you can really feel the love in every word. What a great mom you are! Thanks for sharing a little about your family with us.

  3. such a wonderful way to describe the feelings about taking lukey to school. our hugs are the ones that count, isn't that right! for my life, i have to remember that for us it's all about quality of time spent, not quantity of time, since i'm working full time and sometimes it's just so hard to be away. of course, after the weekend we just had, i was all too happy to drop him off this morning! but i missed him and was thrilled to pick him up. love these little people. miss you sis and my nephew. xoxo

  4. This is the BEST “Because our hugs are the ones that count.”

    Damn skippy, Mama!

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