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The World Needs More Hugs

by - Thursday, December 13, 2012

This one isn't a decor or DIY related post so feel free to skip it if that's your cup of tea.

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I attended a funeral yesterday for the father of one of my oldest and dearest friends. As I was giving the family my condolences I, characteristically, started tearing up, left speechless by my tears and the general feeling of not knowing what to say in those situations. So I gave my dear friend a hug, and in so much as I felt I was giving her a hug and support, she was giving me the same right back, holding back my tears with her display of strength and ability to make it through what must feel unbearable. I can feel that hug, even now.

Last week, I took Chloe to see Santa at the mall. Afterwards, I made the mistake of taking her into a children's clothing store, resplendent with the sparkly shiny glittery pink things that my 3.5 year old is obsessed with these days. You could guess what happened next... she wanted one thing, and then another one too. We've been dealing with the "I want more more more" phenomenon these days so I gave her a choice: pick one or we leave with none. I know that when we give those ultimatums as parents, the key is all in the follow-through so I steeled myself for the inevitable. It was a tantrum of epic proportions. She lay down on the floor of the store, her body rigid and her scream shrill. I took her out of the store, attempting to carry this flailing tornado with one arm while steering a stroller loaded with winter coats and purchases with the other. Out in the mall was no better. The stares of the dozens of holiday shoppers were as unmistakeable as Chloe's cries. She sat and pounded her fists, she lay on the ground, she threw her shoes, she stomped her feet. And at the peak of it, when Chloe was alternating between hyperventilating and screaming bloody murder... I knelt down beside her, looked her in the eye, and gave her a hug. I hugged her tight, trying to stifle my own urge to walk away. I told her to take deep breaths, calming my frayed nerves at the same time.

There is little in this world that a hug can't cure. I've learned that the easiest way to diffuse an argument is to hug. That a hug can dissipate anger in an instant. That a hug can uplift, soothe, comfort, empathize, encourage, reassure and console, with little effort. When in doubt, hug.

One of my most favourite hugs
As we head into the holidays, I know the gifts I look most forward to are the hugs from the people I don't see enough of in my daily life. Long after the lights are taken down and the decorations put away, those imprints will remain. The world needs more hugs. Sending a virtual one to you.

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26 comments

  1. Elizabeth Fletchall12:42 PM

    You are so, so right about the power of hugs.  I've often hugged our oldest tight during a tantrum, asking him to breath deep with me and telling him that I love him too much to let him act like this.  It's amazing that sometimes I forget the power of this trick.  Works. Every. Time.  :)

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  2. Hugs are an absolute MUST. They are way better than kisses, although kissing a 2 year old's cheeks a million times is fun too. Hugs just feel so good and make everything feel better even in the toughest of times. Thx for the post.

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  3. debs45912:42 PM

    As a mom to a 3 year old girl myself, tears are streaming down my face after reading this post, especially with today's horrible tragedy. My fav part? In the comments section, when you replied to Nette , ''Like I was lucky to get the opportunity to calm her down." We really are truly lucky. ((hugs))

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  4. Even extra true today....I'll be hugging my girl extra hard when I get her from school...

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  5. LindsB12:42 PM

    After what has happend in CT today this post could not be more timly-  I cant wait to get home and hug my husband!

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  6. loveleyday12:42 PM

    My daughter is a few months shy of four.  We've been going through a tantrum/hitting/swatting phase.  It's so hard to see your little one lose control.  Thank you for reminding me how powerful a hug can be.  I wish Chloe and you peaceful, enjoyable outings.  Thanks for sharing, and please know while many people walk by and smirk at the spectacle of a screaming child, many more people have experienced life with a little person and can empathize.

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  7. nicole gjeldum12:42 PM

    Beautiful post...I too have a 3 year old little girl and can relate to your story.  Hugs are what we should all remember!!  Happy Holidays to you and your family!

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  8. joelle_segal12:42 PM

    This is a beautiful post. I enjoy your blog so much. :) Big hugs...

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  9. Simone Reis12:42 PM

    I just loved your words. Thank you. Feel yourself hugged as well.

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  10. ramblingrenovators12:42 PM

    I do :) thank you.

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  11. Absolutely beautiful. The image of you sitting in a crowded mall hugging your screaming daughter... I'm sure at the time it wasn't peaceful at all, but somehow, that's exactly what it exudes. A hug can bring some much peace. It can make all right with the world.

    Thank you for sharing!

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  12. ramblingrenovators12:42 PM

    Strangely, you're right, I did feel kind of peaceful at that moment. Like I was lucky to get the opportunity to calm her down. One of my memorable mom moments for sure.

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  13. how2home12:42 PM

    I agree, the world does need more hugs! Thanks for sharing this post with us and we're so sorry to hear about your best friend's lost :( sending you lots of hugs!

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  14. Debby Messner12:42 PM

    I love to leave ((((((HUGS)))))) on my messages.  What a great mom you are.  I had a similar experience with my adopted son.  I say adopted because he was 5 and was a wild child.  He didn't want to ride in the stroller....and believe me he would have been unable to control.  He screamed and screamed for about 30 minutes.  We sat outside the mall while he screamed.  I sat on the concrete.  A woman approached me.  I thought she was going to give me a lecture.  She told me that I was a great mom for not giving in.  Well, I don't know how great I was.....it was hard but being a parent is hard.  I so agree about the hugs.

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  15. ramblingrenovators12:42 PM

    Those moments are tough, aren't they? The same thing happens to actually. After I hugged Chloe and calmd her down, a woman came up and said "I admire you. That took a lot of patience". I almost burst into tears because I was so frazzled but was grateful that there was at least one person who understood what we mothers go through.

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  16. Thanks so much for sharing Jen.  Yes Hugs is a wonderful thing and you are truly amazing to have dealt with the little one in such "civilize" manner ... I wouldn't know what to do if I were in that situation.

    Sorry to hear about your best friend's lost.  I knew it was the hugs that helped me the most when I lost my mother ... it wasn't really the words they say .. it was the deep, deep hugs that I still remember the most.

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  17. ramblingrenovators12:42 PM

    Thanks for sharing Tim. Its a difficult situation that we will all face someday so good to know that a simple hug can sometimes be enough.

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  18. You are such an amazing mama, Jen. Happy holidays to you guys. I'm sending lots of hugs (and kisses) your way. XOXO! 

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  19. ramblingrenovators12:42 PM

    Thanks Kathleen. I'll claim that hug in person when I see you at Alt Summit :)

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  20. Virtual hug right back at you, Jen. This is such a sweet post. I've seen so many parents taking a completely different approach
    from yours dealing with a youngster's tantrum in a mall. I admire what you’ve done for Chloe. XX

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  21. swan.emery12:42 PM

    What a wonderful post. Thank you for sharing. Hugs to you as well :)

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  22. This made me smile. Thanks, Jen. hugs back atcha :)

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  23. barbara @hodge:podge12:42 PM

    Sending you a hug....sorry about your friend's loss and your Chloe's episode. Oh - how i remember those days. 

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  24. A hug says so much ... sorry for your loss ... or I still love you even when you are being less than loveable.

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  25. MMedinaC12:44 PM

    Thanks for a great post and reminder to keep on hugging my own kids, even when it looks like the last thing they want is a hug.  Happy Holidays and hugs to you and your family!

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  26. Amy Walters12:48 PM

    Wonderful post and beautifully put, Jen. Hugs. xo

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