I’ve never been a hugger. I’m not really sure why, but I’ve just never really loved hugs. I feel loved more through quality time, a well-timed compliment, or a thoughtful gesture. My husband, on the other hand, loves a good hug. My mother-in-law once told me that even as a little boy, he had absolutely no space bubble. He loved nothing more than to cuddle up on her lap, reading books all the live long day.
As you can imagine, my non-hugging ways and his hugging ones are sometimes at odds. Over the years we’ve been married, I’ve become more of a hugger, but even before having kids, he would mention how excited he was to have kids, because maybe — just maybe — one of them would end up being a snuggly, hug-lover too.
About four years into our marriage, our oldest daughter arrived and we became parents for the first time. We were over the moon and completely smitten with her. My husband was elated to be a father and was so sweet and attentive to her every need. As she grew though, as much as she did love her Daddy, she proved that she had taken after her mama in the snuggling department. Much to my husband’s disappointment, she wasn’t exactly the hugger he had been hoping for — though she did have plenty of other redeeming qualities.
I felt a little bit sad that fate had dealt him a raw deal with two loves in his life who did not share his affinity for cuddling, but he held out hope that perhaps one of our other future offspring might fill the void one day. Then, when our daughter was two-and-a-half, we welcomed Baby #2 into the world: our sweet, little Clive.
Clive could not have been more different from his big sister. Where she was often stoic and not easily impressed, he was gregarious and loved being engaged. She didn’t laugh for the first time until she was nearly 6 months old, but he laughed easily and often starting early, before 3 months. She was a curly-haired brunette and he had the lightest blonde, stick straight hair. She was dainty and delicate and more cautious; he was a bit like a bull in a china shop — bulldozing through his days with gusto. The most notable difference though, was that this kid LOVED to cuddle. If he could’ve been snuggled all day long, he would’ve been perfectly happy. He loved to be held and snuggled and would happily sit in our laps for as long as we would engage him. He adored (and still does adore) any and all human contact.
As you can imagine, this development thrilled my husband’s heart. He had finally gotten his snuggly baby, and I will never forget the first time Clive went up and hugged him completely out of the blue and of his own volition.
My husband was making our daily espresso at his coffee bar as we rushed to get ready for church one Sunday morning. As he was distractedly pulling shots and pouring them into cups, he noticed a tugging on his leg. He looked down to see Clive there, putting his arms up saying, “Hug you Dada.” It was such a sweet thing to see, as my husband abandoned his coffee pot and crouched down to our son’s level for the most precious hug I’ve ever witnessed. The pure joy that washed over my husband’s face and the look of complete peace on my son’s face as they shared this hug will forever be stored away in my mama-memory-bank. They hugged for a good 20-30 seconds, and I was able to pull my phone out of my pocket and quickly capture the moment in a photo. I’m so glad I did, because it is one that I look back at often, telling my husband, “Awww! Remember that?”
My husband is so thankful he finally got his “hugger,” and truth be told, our boy’s penchant for nonstop human touch has brought his sister and I around too. Maybe we are huggers now after all.
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