Son, so many words rushed into my head when I hugged you at the top of the stairs the other day. They say a picture is worth a thousand words. But, I would argue, so is a hug.
“How did your shoulders get so broad?” I said aloud as I looked up, not down, at you.
“When did you get so strong?” came next, feeling the firm squeeze you gave me. Of course, then I remembered all the workouts and practices you have dedicated to your favorite sports. How could I forget? Until recently, I had been your chauffeur for them.
I was so glad to be hugging my son, and it made me remember all the hugs before.
I hugged you gently as a newborn. You were so little then! I hugged you even though I was so tired, and my body so beaten. Pure love buoyed me through those first few months.
Then you blossomed into a bubbly baby with squishy arms and legs. It seemed I hugged you all day long while I carried you everywhere. And at night I hugged you when you didn’t sleep. I held you close while sitting in my rocking chair for hours.
I hugged you as a toddler, when you would waddle over to me, your chubby hands and arms outstretched. You brought me treasures, like rocks and sticks. Or just a big smile, unless you were tired. Then you brought me your body to wrap in my arms while you fell asleep, your head on my shoulder.
I hugged you goodbye on the first day of kindergarten and again when you came back to me later that same day. Then came all the following days when I hugged you before and after school.
More hugs came after little league games, the science fair, or holiday concerts. There was the time I hugged you when someone had tried to pick a fight with you. Then there was the time I hugged you when your teacher sent home a note that said you were kind to someone.
When you got to middle school, you didn’t want to hug me in front of your friends.
That’s okay. You still hugged me at home. Suddenly it seemed your doughy arms were gone, replaced by long, gangly ones. Each hug reminded me that you were growing up.
High school hugs are different now, but still special. They are quick, but meaningful. They are strong, because you are strong. Remember how I hugged you at the year-end sports banquet when you won an award? And how I hugged you when you passed your driver’s education test?
Now there are hugs before you drive to school every morning, hugs of well wishes before a big test, or hugs to console you after a bad day.
And there are so many hugs to come, I hope.
The hugs when you graduate and when I drop you off at college.
The hugs when you come home for breaks.
The hugs on the first day of your internship or when you move into an apartment of your own.
The hugs when you get engaged and then more hugs for you and your bride.
The hugs won’t end there, either. I will hug you when you come home for dinner or just a visit. When you join us to celebrate Christmas. When you get a promotion. When it’s a Tuesday.
These hugs, they are worth a thousand words, a thousand memories. They tell the story of a lifetime of loving you.
I’m so lucky to be your mom and get to hug you. And I’m so grateful that you hug me back.