When will be the last time my son gives me a hug?

Oh, I’m sure there will come a time, after the difficult, alienated teenage years, when he’s an adult and he gives me a perfunctory hug when we are saying hello. Times when he gives me a quick embrace to celebrate a birthday, perhaps, or a wedding.

But when will be the last time he throws himself into my arms to show me how much he loves me? When will be the last time he curls up next to me on the couch, so we can watch TV together, entwined into one being? When will be the last time he runs to me for solace, knowing Mommy’s arms will make it all better?

He’s turning seven next week. Seven seems old. It seems big. He’s already so tall, so mature, so thoughtful. So grown-up.

But he’s still content to let me call after him that I love him when I drop him off at school. He still likes it when I get there in time to be the parent who helps with skates for gym class. He still wants me to sing him to sleep at night.

And he still wants the hugs.

The other day, I was doing the dishes and he came up behind me and wrapped his arms around my waist. Just a little moment when he needed a little reassurance; just a moment when he saw me there and felt the overwhelming need to be close to me.

The other night, as I was putting him to bed, he asked me to stay a little while. He had a cold and was feeling achy and tired and lonely. I nestled in tight, and soon the warmth and comfort of having his mother next to him caused his breathing to go deep, and he slept in peace.

But I know it won’t last. I know there will come a time when he needs me, but has to act like he doesn’t. A time when he wants my help, but also wants to be his own man, to branch out, to grow.

I’ve waited so long for him to get just a little bit bigger, a little bit more independent. To make my life easier by taking care of himself every once in a while. But now that that day is fast approaching, I find I really want the opposite. I want to hang on to him longer. Keep him close.

Keep on hugging him, as much as possible.

Every time we snuggle up together, every time he gives me a kiss goodnight, I wonder now… was that the last time? Will tomorrow be the end? Will it be next week that he’s all grown up?

So I grab my hugs whenever I can, and hope that when the day comes, it’s been enough. For both of us.

7 thoughts on “When

  1. famethrowa

    That day may never come.

    You likely fear it because that’s what happened with all of us: we grew up, moved on, became a little disconnected. But that’s because of our situation, the way our mother is with us. Maybe it was that *she* stopped hugging *us* (or really, did she ever much?).

    Being with Mr. Chatty, I’ve seen a very different interaction between mother and child. He calls home every Sunday and every Wednesday, without fail. He brings his mother flowers every time we visit. They hug often. That’s how it’s always been.

    Given your current relationship and your parenting style, I don’t think you have much to worry about. Ya, there will probably be some teen angst and rebellious years, but they’ll pass.

  2. I hope / wish / think Famethrowa may be right. I think in many families there is as much pushing away by parents as there is growing away by children. I think sometimes we hasten the “please don’t kiss me good-bye at school” reaction when we automatically lean in for that kiss, then stiffen and wait to see if it’s OK. Or just stop trying at all.
    It seems to me (with some exceptions) distance begets distance and closeness begets closeness. I think sometimes a crack shows up – you know, when your kid is tired and stroppy and frustrated and informs you YOU ARE THE VERY WORST MOMMY IN THE WORLD – and, instead of pushing through it we’re hesitant and lose our nerve and allow more distance to grow. I’m not just talking about relationships with our kids here – the same can happen between couples, with our own parents, and so on.
    And I’m not trying to say we should never let our relationships with our kids change or mature; I’m just saying we shouldn’t necessarily accept we have to grow apart from them. I’m hoping parents like you, Lynn, and like me can fight to stay close to our kids in an appropriate way and (mostly) manage it.
    But what do I know? Because today I have already been THE WORST MOMMY IN THE WORLD. But then, after that, I got a hug…

  3. betsy mae

    I’m in one of those moods I think but this post has me sobbing. Timely because Mouse is turning seven this month as well and she seems to have changed and grown overnight. I got teary eyed yesterday in the car when I glanced back at her, the time just passes so quickly. The days are long the years are short.

  4. Well The Boy is 9, and still in need of much hugging and snuggling … he shows no signs of wanting to pull away yet. I was thinking about this… I still need my parents they are a great source of support in hard times. And I know that though he may get hugs from others, I hope he grows up knowing that we are here to help him.

  5. i sitll give my mom and dad hugs – there were a few lean years when i was a raging, hormonal be-atch (aka teenager) but today I still reach out for hugs.

  6. I often wonder that too. I agree with above comments that it doesn’t necessarily have to disappear, but, it seems unlikely that your 15 year old is going to want you to curl up in bed with him when he’s feeling sick, or sit on your lap to watch tv (and I’m thinking, rightfully so 😉
    Enjoy it all now, and keep on hugging.

  7. OH my heart is breaking. I never want it to end with the jellybean, but fear every day that it will end. Even though he is only nearly 3, I know the day will come. But maybe Famethrowa is right. We are diferent parents from our own and perhaps the fact that we are super huggy and affectionate might rub off is a way that makes our kids the same. Always knowing that that physical touch and sense of reassurance will always be there for them, and they they never want to let it go.

    I can only hope.

Comments are closed.