My Turn

Ok, so now you have heard all of the stories from Sara and Jenny. Now it’s my turn. My best friend is the personal trainer for these two and my hugs came up in conversation. They mentioned that they would be interested in sharing some stories, so a few emails later and the date was set. I was excited just going in to the meeting with them because, well, have you read their blog? These girls are crazy and amazing and funny and who wouldn’t want to get to know them?

IMG_20140521_111710383_HDR

When I showed up the first thing I noticed is how their pictures do not do them justice. These girl are gorgeous. We instantly hugged, no handshakes here. Duh. And, we got to work. They were so engaging and lively while sharing their stories. I couldn’t get enough of what they had to offer. Their energy was palpable and contagious.

The one story they didn’t share was one that was obvious to me in the short amount of time I spent with them. It was their love for one another. They were sitting oh so close when I showed up despite the four chairs around the table. When they spoke they kept leaning toward one another and touching each other in some form or another. Then they began talking about their love for each other and man, I wish for everyone to have at least one friend like this. A friend that you just can’t get enough of. That if it didn’t look so wildly inappropriate you would sit on their lap every chance you got. This is their type of friendship and it is BEAUTIFUL.

IMG_20140521_110500526_HDR IMG_20140521_111722743

I felt like I just wanted to jump right in to the middle of that love fest, but we only met minutes before and I suppose that really would have been wildly inappropriate. My favorite part of meeting with them? How I felt when I left. They lifted me up. They made me feel like I could conquer the world and nothing was impossible. It’s magical when you meet people like this. They usually don’t even know how inspiring they are. Well, I am telling you Sara and Jenny, you are that inspiring. You are magic. You are love.

Please accept this blog as my virtual hug to you.

Best friend hugs

This is the last of 4 stories from Two Meatballs Get Fit gals. It comes from Sara and is about her best friend, Katie. They have been best friends for 30 years!

Sara set up the moment by talking about airport moments, you know those scenes in the movies when two people are so excited to see each other they run toward each other in dramatic slow motion and hug so tight. Katie has been living in another city for six years so this past Easter when she came to visit Sara couldn’t get to her fast enough. She ran through the airport and lived out her own airport hug.

My favorite though was another hug story she shared about Katie. They were hugging when Sara said, “Come, lay on top of me.” Katie isn’t quite as affectionate as Sara so she was like, “Whaaattt?” Total misunderstanding. Sara had actually said, “Come, lay by me.” So, now a new phrase has been coined, “Come, lay on top of me.” And, if this meeting was any indication of Sara’s true nature, I am sure that is the way it was always meant to be.

Sara and Jenny, you touch so many people, physically and emotionally. This world is a better place with you both in it.

Please accept this blog as my virtual hug to you.

Daughter hugs

This is another story from Jenny. I felt it was appropriate to share today because it’s about her daughter London, who just so happens to be sick and cuddly. Here’s to hoping she is better soon!

Jenny began the story by sharing the same sentiment I hear from pretty much anyone that shares a kid story. Their hugs are just so genuine. There is no agenda, just love. Then, she began to tell about something her daughter London likes to do in the morning. I wish I could have captured her telling this on video, but you will just have to imagine it.

London approaches her and begins to slowly walk her fingers up Jenny’s body. As she does so, she emphasizes one word with each touch. I (touch). Love (touch). You (touch). And on and on it goes until she reaches the top and then wraps her arms around Jenny giving a pure expression of love. It’s so genuine and sincere. It’s in these moments that Jenny just wants to be able to communicate how much more she loves London. And, that she always will love her more than her daughter could ever love her back. I think it’s a mom thing. (or at least a parent thing) (or grandparent thing) (heck, just any adult in love with any child thing)

Feel better London. Be sure to give your Mom lots more of that love.

Please accept this blog as my virtual hug to you.

Validating Hugs

This next story is from the second beautiful lady I met last week, Jenny. She is the other half of Two Meatballs Get Fit. Seriously, go check their blog out if you haven’t already. Do it! They are fun AND inspirational. Ok, on to the first of her two stories.

Jenny’s mom Elaine is not the most affectionate of parents. The whole family isn’t overly affectionate (surprising if you saw how affectionate Jenny is!), they are more of an acts of service family. You know, the kind that does for one another rather than hug and kiss. So, when Jenny does get a hug from her mom she knows it’s real. She feels validated in those moments and secure in her mother’s love for her. Every hug from her mom means the world to her and she always takes the time to appreciate them in that moment. I wish I could capture with words the obvious longing and love that was in Jenny’s face as she told this story, but at times there are just no words.

jenny

I swore she got a little teary eyed when she was telling that story though and apparently Sara did too because she called her out. She denied it, so maybe it was just Sara and I getting a little teary eyed and blaming it on her…

Please accept this blog as my virtual hug to you.

It’s all fun and games

This next story is from one of two women I met yesterday. Sara and Jenny embarked recently on a very brave, very inspirational journey to become healthier versions of themselves. Their blog is called Two Meatballs Get Fit. You really need to check it out. They literally completely expose themselves in the hope of inspiring others and to keep themselves motivated. I will share more about them in a later post. There is so much to be said about these amazing girls, but today is about Sara and the first of her hug stories.

I just wanted to squeeze her to pieces!

I just wanted to squeeze her to pieces!

With bright eyes and excitement running through her body Sara starts the conversation by saying, “Jenny and I both have more than one story to share. I hope that’s ok. I mean, I just love hugs and I love affection.” Um, of course. I will never say no to extra hug stories!

Sara’s sister has two boys, Wyatt and Chase. She loves being an Auntie because in her own words, “I am too irresponsible for having my own children, but that’s what makes me the perfect Aunt.” She has always demanded affection from them, smothering them from when they were little so they understood that when Aunt Sara was around, there was going to be lots of physical affection. Over time they developed this game. Sara would be at one end of a long hallway while one of the boys would be at the other. They would go running toward Sara as she ran toward them. They yell the whole way and then just envelop each other in a great big hug. She described the game as being like something you would see in a cartoon. You know, just kind of larger than life.

Sara then described how she is affectionate with them at every possible moment. Little things like, when lying by the pool she would tell them, “Your Aunt is too warm. I need you to lay on me so I can cool down.” Of course they fall for it. When sitting around watching TV she sits in a way that creates a little nook behind her knee where she invites them to sit. (Or more likely demands that they sit…)

Those boys didn’t stand a chance.

Please accept this blog as my virtual hug to you.

 

 

Quiet

Hi all,

I know I have been awfully quiet lately. I have a few hug stories in the works that I can’t wait for. And, I still have some I will be sharing with you soon.

The past few weeks have been very trying as my MS decided to flare up. I have been experimenting with different diets and well, it’s VERY time consuming. I have decided on the Wahl’s Paleo Diet by Dr. Terry Wahl’s. It’s not as difficult to manage as the MS Diet by Dr. Swank which I have followed in the past so that’s a positive.

I am very hopeful for good results. In the meantime, please enjoy the hug stories as they come and please send healing thoughts this way. (If you are interested in my health journey, I am blogging about that here.)

Please accept this blog as my virtual hug to you.

Magical Hugs

This story comes from Normy S.

He was working in a cafeteria and while behind the line he would often develop relationships with his customers. He remembered fondly one customer, Barbara. She was a sweet old lady in her late 40s, early 50s. (Don’t get mad at me. He’s the one that called her old…) She came in to the cafeteria this one day and she just seemed off. He noticed her tearing up as she ordered. There were about 5-6 people in line behind her but there wouldn’t be a line long enough to stop him. He left his station, came around the counter and gave her a hug. He didn’t ask what was wrong, he just held her for 30 seconds and told her, “My hugs are magical”. Then, went back to work. To this day he still has no idea why she was upset.

I can only imagine the difference he made in her that day. And, I already know what a difference it would have made in his. There’s no way to avoid the sheer joy that comes from hugging someone that you know is in need.

He says my Year of Hugs was his influence in giving this hug, but I am too humble to share that with you. Oops. Ok, fine. It just makes me feel so good to know when I influence others to hug.

Please accept this blog as my virtual hug to you.

Holding On For One Last Time

This is a very personal hug story of mine. I wanted to share it because not every meaningful hug has a happy ending.

It had been 7 months since I had been diagnosed with multiple sclerosis. I was on the brink of a break up with my boyfriend and things were in complete disarray in my life. I had been warned that my grandmother did not have much time left. Probably before the weekend was over. I placed the call on Sunday to find out if I should call in to work to be there with her and was told, “No, it’s ok. You will have plenty of time to finish your shift. Just come to the hospital when you are done.” It was a Sunday and I was only working until noon. For some reason I didn’t have a car so my boyfriend dropped me off at work. After a few hours I began getting restless. It was close to 10 and I knew. I just knew I had to be at the hospital right NOW!

I called bf and told him to please hurry and pick me up. After clearing it with supervisors I jumped in to the car and we raced for the hospital. I told bf to drop me off at the door and meet me upstairs. That is how desperate I was to get to her room as soon as possible. For some reason I didn’t leave my bags in his car so with a heavy load on my shoulder I raced as quick as I could to get to her. Her room was on the left at the end of a long hallway. As I ran to her room I noticed family members slowly drifting out of her room with their heads down. “Noooooo” I screamed. I sprinted and as soon as I reached her room I dropped my bags mid-run in the middle of her floor. I rushed to her side and threw my arms around my best friend. She was my inspiration, always so full of loving kindness. She suffered so much but was quick to make a joke and laugh that cute smile of hers. And, her skin. Oh my gosh it was always flawless. Barely a wrinkle, so soft to touch. I prayed to always have skin like hers.

“I’m sorry, I’m so sorry. I tried to get here on time.” I buried my head in her shoulder and sobbed. She was still warm to the touch. I don’t know how long I stayed that way. I just couldn’t let go. She had been my savior over the past 7 months. Finally my Dad (this was his mom) came to me and said, “She heard you. I know she heard you.” And, you know I believe he is right. I believe now that she planned it that way so that I wouldn’t be there to watch her go. She may have realized that would have been more traumatic for me, although from my view point I don’t see how that would have been possible. I will however always treasure that last hug I was able to give her.

DSC_0169

Please accept this blog as my virtual hug to you.

Hubby Hugs

This story comes from hubby!

When I asked his most memorable hug, he said, “Our first one.” Oh come on. I laughed and said, you don’t have to make it about me. He said, “No, it was.”

He recollected the first night we met (ok, second, but that’s another story).  The way he so boldly grabbed my hand on the dance floor and said, “We need to talk.” Oh and we talked. For 4 hours straight. At the end of the night before going our separate ways, (ok fine, I actually went back to his place but nothing happened I swear) we kissed. (Fine, something happened.) And, of course we hugged.

To put it in his words after sharing a few hug moments in his life, “I don’t know if that’s what you are looking for. I mean these aren’t particularly memorable hugs. I just remember the big moments in my life and getting a hug during those times.” I looked at him with tears in my eyes and a smile on my face. “That’s because hugs are a natural part of your life. And for that I am glad.”

Please accept this blog as my virtual hug to you.

Teacher Hugs

This next hug story comes from Dawn V. She shared the following message with me on Facebook.

“One of the most rewarding aspects of teaching in an elementary school is being the kind of teacher that kids know they can come to for a hug. Maybe the only hug they’ll receive all day. I think of you when kids I don’t even know randomly come up to me and hug me.”

It saddens me to think some of these kids are only receiving one hug a day. Knowing that the one hug is coming from Dawn almost makes up for it. Almost.

On a side not, can I tell you how gushy I get inside when someone tells me their hugs remind them of me? Ohhhh, I love it so much. But, that’s not all! She also shared this little gem with me:

“One of my second graders has needed a lot of hugs this past week. Her mom was in Africa for her grandmother’s funeral. She didn’t need to say anything. She just came up to me once or twice a day and hugged me. I don’t have kids of my own so I love filling in for moms whenever needed.”

Sigh. Hugs are fantastic. And please… keep these stories coming. Email me – melinda@myyearofhugs.com, send me a message on Facebook, send me a message on Twitter. I want to hear them all!

Please accept this blog as my virtual hug to you.