Thursday, April 18, 2013

My Daughter Doesn't Hug

My daughter doesn't hug... and that's ok. She's only 11 months old; she'll learn. Sure, it would be nice to feel embraced and loved (I wonder why hugging makes us feel good in the first place? It's a strange practice when you take a step back and think about it) by this little person in my life, but at the same time, I think I like it this way.

We're in a stage right now where she's very clingy. If we walk out of her field of vision, the tears well up. The wife had a rough experience trying to leave her in the nursery for worship last Sunday. She went all out waterworks when I walked into the other room yesterday, even though I was in full view.

These are times I'd expect a hug - some reassurance of closeness and protection. She'll often reach up her arms or tug on our pant legs, but as soon as she's being held, she's reaching and pointing for other things.

I do like it this way. She just needs presence. She trusts our love and protection enough that she doesn't need the full force of physical closeness. Once she's secure in our arms, she's ready to face the world. At this point, at eleven months, she literally believes she can do anything if she starts in my arms (including flying, I think, if I'd let her try).

As she grows older, she's not going to need or want to spend so much time being held (which will be wonderful for my lower back). She's going to venture out on her own and create her own independent confidence. At some point I will fail her and she'll realize my arms aren't always the safe harbor they seem to be. (I sometimes wonder if that moment happened Tuesday, when she launched herself off our bed and I didn't notice 'til she hit the floor.)

Perhaps that's when a hug will mean more - when we're not so necessarily connected. I hope she'll be able to know and remember the kind of support and confidence we instill in her now - that she'll be able to pursue the call on her life, to venture out and explore and try and fail and know our arms will always be waiting, even if she's too big to pick up anymore.


Alison said...

Beautifully written Ryan... I'm pretty sure there's a sermon in there... presence...

Mark said...

when we're not so necessarily connected.

There will come a time where physical connections are far outweighed by a heart connection. This is part of our human condition that God gives us to figure out living in our daily lives. You will never loose that connection with any of your children even up to our last breath but you will find that it is all good.

Victoria Deschere said...

I lived for a few years away from my family. And not being married & living a fairly monastic life I did not share my personal bubble with many people. That bubble was popped every Sunday at church during the passing of the peace. I came to realize I hungered for those times. I was being held by the true embodiment of Christ. I love your image of safe in Our Father's arms. I think there is also a cherished by the Savior too.