REJECTED

I love to spend time at the airport just watching the planes take off. On this day it was rainy so I was watching them from the comfort of inside the general aviation terminal. After about an hour as I was getting ready to leave I decided to ask the lone gentleman working for a hug story.

Maybe I had been sitting around too long and I was deemed suspicious. Maybe he doesn’t like talking to strangers. Maybe I will never know, but I was rejected. He was very polite but it was a no nonetheless. I tried another tactic. “Ok, well, can I give you a hug?” “No, I don’t think so.” I wished him a great day and was on my way.

I held my head up high as I walked away but removed the knife from my heart when I got back to my car. Ok, maybe that was a little dramatic but rejection is never easy. The thing is it’s never stopped me before and it won’t stop me now.

Please accept this blog as my virtual hug to you.

 

Squeezing The Life Out of You

This story comes from Gary M. Gary’s story is one that I have heard often in many different variations although all variations end with more huggers in this world.

His mom came from hard times and was not a hugger. By nature, Gary wasn’t either. Until he became part of a physical Italian family. He was converted. He brought this new found hugging nature back to his mom. She was reluctant at first but eventually adopted the behavior and embraced the hugging lifestyle.

With laughter in his eyes he recalls how even at 90 lbs and even though she couldn’t possibly hurt him, she took the liberty of squeezing him as hard as she possible could. From a non hugger to wanting to squeeze the life out of someone. Hugs are clearly contagious.

Please accept this blog as my virtual hug to you.

Converting to Hugism

This story comes from Sue M.

Sue came from a non hugging family. Before she really even got in to the story tears were already filling her eyes. She became very emotional. She had married into an tight knit Italian family and called her husband “weird” for being touchy feely. “That’s not normal” she exclaimed to him. “YOUR family isn’t normal” he laughed.

No one in her family was huggy. Perhaps it was a nationality thing? Now she reflects about how much more she hugs. And I personally can attest to that. I am grateful that my Dad was able to convert my Mom. I can’t imagine growing up any other way.

DSC_0139.jpg

Please accept this blog as my virtual hug to you.

The Non Hug Story

This story comes from Frank C. He’s my grandpa. My kids great grandpa. He will be 90 this year. That is very relevant to this story.

My grandpa!

My grandpa!

I asked him his favorite hug memory. Or, just any memory of a hug he wanted to share. He got serious and started telling me that he had gone to FL to visit my sister. During that visit which was either 2002 or 2003 she gave him a tape recorder and asked him to record himself for posterity. At this point he stopped and asked me to search his drawer for the recorder. We searched for a bit but came up empty handed. So, back to the story he went.

He recalled being on a train back to CT and he recorded stories on that train. Then, he began sharing details of the train. He had bunk beds and the ride was long. Oh, yeah and that tape recorder should be around somewhere. So, off to searching again. After another 30 minutes and another fruitless search I tried bringing him back. What was it about this tape recorder that made him think of  a hug?

“Oh, you know, your Dad might have it. I probably gave it to him.” And, off he went on another conversation. So, I never did get the hug story that day. But, I did find out that Dad did have the tape recorder and threw it away because there was nothing on it. Grandpa never did learn how to use it properly.

So, you see not all of my hug stories will always end up as a hug story…

Please accept this blog as my virtual hug to you.

No Pity Here

This story is from Tasha V. She shared this story with me as we embarked on a road trip. It was all I could do to keep my eyes from getting blurry with tears as I attempted to drive while listening.

Two days after being diagnosed with breast cancer, Tasha received a call from a church acquaintance who had also had cancer. She wanted to visit with Tasha. When she arrived she walked in with a very matter of fact attitude. No pity, no worrisome look in her eyes. She offered support by explaining what to expect during her first round of chemo. She detailed everything she might feel or experience that first day and through the first round. It wasn’t until after their conversation was over that this acquaintance embraced Tasha and didn’t let go. They both wordlessly cried together.

By holding back the embrace and tears until the end Tasha was able to hear her advice and take it to heart without fear or any other emotions clouding her thoughts. It was because of her visit and her explanations that Tasha was able to endure her chemo and be prepared for the next steps. It was because of the embrace that she knew she wasn’t doing it alone.

I am happy to report Tasha is now cancer free.

Please accept this blog as my virtual hug to you.

Judge Not

This was weighing heavy on my mind this morning and I felt compelled to get it out.

I preach about not judging others, accepting and loving everyone you encounter. You don’t have to agree with them, just accept, respect and love. How are we supposed to do this with so many labels on everyone? Why do we even have labels in the first place? Why can’t we just be?

With labels we are constantly judged and judge ourselves based on what the labels mean. I am a heterosexual. What if I found myself in love with a woman down the road? Would that then make me a lesbian? Would I be labeled bisexual? What is the point of that label? To make myself more comfortable or make others more comfortable?

I stay at home with my kids. What if I decided I wanted a job more than staying home with them? Would that make me a failure as a stay at home mom? Would that make me a working mom? Why am I not already a working mom? That’s the way it feels even though I am not in a traditional ‘go to the office’ job.

What is one of the first things you ask someone when you meet them? “What do you do?” Huh. Well, I like to write, play piano, take pictures, love my family, meditate, read. Psh, try saying this to someone and their response will likely be, “No, I mean what do you do for a living?” Or, in other words, what is your Label?

With labels, would you listen to me talk about equality? Or would you wonder what label it is that qualifies me for that? Would you listen as I rant about challenges for women in the workplace? Or would you search my website for some label that qualifies me for that? What about autism, mental illness, nutrition, sports or traveling the world? Would you wonder what label I have that qualifies me to discuss these topics?

I tell you what qualifies all of us. We are human. We have thoughts. We have feelings, dreams, aspirations, a desire to change the world for the better. That is our label. And, I think that is enough.

Kicked Out

This story comes from Pat S.

They had been dating for some time. He got kicked out of school for a semester and was forced to return home to work for the family business. He was miserable and even though his family was grooming him to take over the business he knew that was not how he wanted to live his life. He would be returning to school the following semester. During that time they wrote letters to stay in touch with each other. In his last letter before returning to school he wrote, “I have decided what I am going to do with you.” Looking back she just laughs with a twinkle in her eye saying, “That was so typical Chuck. Instead of just waiting to talk to me in person he left me a note with no information.” But at the time, as most girlfriends would do she imagined the worst. “Oh my goodness, I was sure he was going to break up with me.”

As the next semester started they were both accompanied to school by their parents. While the parents were determining what the sleeping arrangements would be and where they would stay, the couple quickly volunteered to find them a motel. As they drove around during the 3 hour hiatus from their parents, she recalls only looking at one motel during that time. At one point they pulled off to the side of the road where she confronted him about his letter, “So, what are you going to do with me?” He turns to her and asks, “Will you marry me?” The hug that followed was easily her most memorable.

He left us 11 years ago and she recalls every detail as if it were yesterday. I was privileged to witness the love between these two and while he was a man of little words, his love spoke volumes.

Please accept this blog as my virtual hug to you.

Overseas Pen Pal Hug

Sometimes the stories will be my own.

One of my most memorable hugs came from someone I technically just met.

Do you remember getting pen pals in grade school? If not, these were names of kids from the same grade as yours in other schools. You got to send them (snail mail) letters and they would do the same in return. Well, in 5th grade our class was fortunate enough to be pen pals with students from England. My pen pal and I connected immediately. Not only did we write letters through 5th grade, we continued writing letters for years. We became great friends. As I graduated high school, I knew I wanted to do some traveling. What better way to travel than with someone overseas you already know?! I wanted to surprise her, so I contacted her Mom and coordinated the trip.

Now, this was my first time on a plane. Going overseas. For two weeks. To say I was nervous would be an understatement but it was completely overshadowed by my excitement to finally meet my pen pal. As I got off the plane I knew she would figure it was me she had come to pick up seeing as how I traveled on American Airlines. And, I was right. As I walked down the short hallway toward the waiting crowd I saw her with her family. We both screamed that high pitch scream only teenage girls seem capable of. I ran to her and we squeezed each other like long lost friends even though technically we had just met. Although, not really, but kind of. We stayed that way for a few minutes, jumping up and down and not letting go. I think even a few tears may have been shed. I spent the next two glorious weeks seeing London through the eyes of a native. We may lose touch periodically but I am happy to say that we are still friends and keep in touch almost 30 years later.

Please accept this blog as my virtual hug to you.

Day 2 – The Elusive Kid Hugs

This story comes from Sandra A.

When I asked about her favorite hug she kind of stared off in to space and said, “Well, the first thing that popped to mind was when my kids linger in a hug instead of squirming out of my arms.” Ahhh, the elusive kid hug. I know that all too well. I thought that may be the end of her story when after a moment’s pause she reflected back to a time when she struggled to get close to her youngest son. She smiled sweetly as she mentioned how he is now the one to linger in her hugs and how meaningful that is to her. Her oldest lingers too, but he’s always been quite loving and affectionate towards her. I see her struggle with her emotions as she knows she should be grateful for both hugs equally, but when it comes from her youngest who did not always give love so freely, she knows it’s something special. At which point she adds, “I know it’s not much but it’s the first thing that came to mind.”

Aren’t we all like that to some degree? Quick to dismiss those little things that are so important to us that we don’t think others will agree or understand? Those little things? They are what make life worth living.

Please accept this blog as my virtual hug to you.

Compilation #1

Sometimes our hug stories aren’t long, but short meaningful snippets of love and/or humor. I will share these in compilations together.

From Bambi G. – D (her youngest son who is almost 4) saw a girl from his class…she ran up and hugged him and blushed after.

From Bambi G. – “Customers hug me all the time because I give them free stuff. They just love me.” (said jokingly with a hint of pride)

From Heather W. Facebook status – “I traded in the infant car seat for the big girl car seat and came home feeling a twinge of last baby blues. Walked in to a sleeping baby in my bed who promptly woke up enough to crawl into my arms for a snuggle we both must be needing. Not rushing her off to the crib tonight.”

From O, Magazine – “One evening my husband and I hugged before sitting down to eat, and when we turned back to the table, there was no chicken on my plate. Three months later, I found the chicken breast under the refrigerator and learned to pay more attention to my house cleaning–and our cat.” – Judy Thomsen Davis, CA (This story struck me because she felt the importance of adding the hug to the story)

Please accept this blog as my virtual hug to you.