Tag Archives: hug

Ughs and Hugs

Confession: when I was in Miss Dimitroff’s class in fourth grade, I anonymously put a suggestion in the suggestion box asking that she not call us “honey” and “sweetie” and the like because not everyone liked being called things like that.

In fact, I hated it. It made me incredibly uncomfortable.

I’m pretty sure that’s why my mom put me in that class though– to get a dose of the touchy-feely crap she thought I needed.

Was she right?


Did I like it?

Not one bit.

So it was quite a relief when in fifth grade I moved on to the non-touchy, non-feely Mrs. Lavery aka Mrs. Slavery, as kids were known to call her. Man did I ever love that class. (That is, until I got that fateful haircut and things started going down hill… but besides that, it was good.)

Touchiness… feeliness… just not really my things. I’m kind of a cold fish. And I especially dislike hugs. Always have and still do.

Except when I don’t. Which seems to be happening more and more often. Because, as you know by now, I’m nothing if not a walking, talking, big-haired contradiction.

In high school youth group, everyone hugged at the sign of peace while on retreat. It was terrible. People did the same thing at the big CTA conference I was recently at. Terrible!

Then again… I ran five miles with my friend Marie on Thanksgiving morning. It was her first race and I was crazy, ridiculously, deliriously proud of her as she crossed the finish line.

Wooooo!! Marie!!!
Wooooo!! Marie!!!

So, once I was done taking photos of her crossing the finish line and crossed it myself, I ran up to her and gave her a big hug.

What the?

That’s not me.


Except that in that moment it kind of was.

And now I find myself completely unsure  of my stance on hugging.

Another example… my friend and former co-worker Michele recently left her office next door to mine to pursue grad school at Vanderbilt University in Tennessee. When she left, I hugged her, of course, because it seemed like the thing to do. But if I’m being completely honest, although we miss each other very much and it was very happy/sad when she left, neither of us really liked it because neither of us likes to hug. Except… when I went to Nashville to visit Michele a couple weeks ago, the first thing I did when I saw her in her happy bright yellow sweater on a breezy and beautiful Nashville day was give her a hug.

It was an actual hug though, not just this arm around the shoulders... for real.
It was an actual hug though, not just this arm around the shoulders… for real.

No explanation there either. It was spontaneous. It just happened. And I didn’t hate it.

So I grumble and groan and tell people about how I hate hugs and terms of endearment and everything touchy-feely, yet… I’m always begging Seth for what I like to call “huglets” (you know, mini-hugs) and I hug on my pup and call her my little sweetness. I could squeeze my nieces’ cheeks until they were bruised (I wouldn’t of course… just saying it wouldn’t be entirely unpleasant) and I constantly hug their little mama, my Fisky Sister. And just on Saturday night, I noticed myself affectionately grabbing my newest cousin-in-law’s arm while telling her how beautiful she was at her wedding reception.

Is it age? Is it time? Is it comfort level?

Is it exposure to some sort of toxin? Do you think I have holes in my brain???

Who knows what it is. But I appear to be going soft. And I’m not sure how I feel about that.

Most of the time, I’m still awkward and kind of shy and mostly uncool and definitely more of an ugher than a hugger. It’s just that lately, there seem to be more of those moments when a spontaneous hug just happens.

Ugh. Hugs.


Except, hugs? Are all hugs really the same?


When I’m having a rough time and I talk to my dad on the phone, he always gives me a virtual hug. He says, “Ready for a hug? [squeeeeeez-ing sound!]” and I always feel better just knowing that my dad wanted to hug me. And lately, I’ve been getting and giving lots of other virtual hugs. (Related: Have you seen my friend Dawn’s most recent post?! Someday I’ll tell you about the conversations behind the scenes– talk about virtual hugs. My goodness.) And what that makes me realize is that we can hug people with more than just our arms!

We can hug someone with our words. With a smile. With a facial expression. With some cookies, a note, an email, a text, a phone call, a Facebook poke, a blog comment, a held door, an emptied dishwasher, a well-intentioned prayer, any other small thought or act of kindness. And even if you’re disinclined to actually touch, except certain people on certain occasions, like me, there’s still lots of ways to hug– to show you care.


Physical hugs sometimes.

Metaphorical hugs always.


PS: It’s snowing at underthetapestry.com for the winter season! It’s so awesome!! Make sure you check it out! What a sweet option, WordPress!!

Advent for Thirty: Making Peace and a Hug from the Number 30

The good thing about turning 30 is that you have plenty of warning– you know it’s coming for a good long time. And let me tell you, if you don’t have babies yet, lots and lots of people spend time and energy reminding you it’s coming, just in case you’ve forgotten. So that’s nice.

Despite the long period of fair warning, I’ve only really thought a lot about turning 30 over the last year. Twenty-nine suddenly made it feel really close and all those baby warnings seemed real and important and I got kind of freaked out.

Ok. I got really freaked out.

But I got to be 29 for 12 whole months. And that’s a lot of time to get over it. Lots of things helped:

Under the Tapestry was a big one. Every time I air a Festivus-style grievance you guys are SO CRAZY supportive and it doesn’t feel so bad. I scream, “Can I get a witness?!” and you scream, “but of course!” and it’s awesome! (I talked to my therapist about it– he pinpointed validation and shared experience as the types of reassurance and support I totally crave. Thank you, therapy!)

Friends, friends, friends! Friends help– big time! And here in Marshfield I have really, really good friends ranging in age from 24 (she was 23 until the end of December… your birthday is throwing off my impressive range, Em!) to over 50 (at which point it would be unkind to share the specifics, but you must know how much I love you, M!) and everything in between. They’re all awesome. All of their lives are different. And I don’t care one iota how close or how far any single one of them is from the age of 30. I imagine the same ought to apply to me. (Side note: if I extend coverage of my friends by age range to the entire country, I can include my friend Emily who is 8. EIGHT. Oh. And she has her own blog now! It’s something else, you should totally check it out! You will be seriously impressed. She’s 8. Good grief. Can you imagine how incredible she’ll be by 30?!)

The Jeff and Kari plan. I love the way I met my friend’s Kari and Jeff. Kari’s sister is married to one of Seth’s best friends (at least so far, but a major falling out is anticipated). I adore Seth’s friend’s wife (regardless of any falling out– we’re staying friends!) and over the years I have gotten to know and adore more and more of their lovely families. Jeff and Kari didn’t start their adventure, or their rapidly growing family, until after the age of 30 and Kari is so crazy positive about it– and encouraging of me! Can’t tell you how much I appreciate that kind of support!

Time and the number 30 itself. Given all the time I’ve had to make peace with 30, I can say without a doubt that I have made it. Plus, the more I thought about it, the nicer the number 30 sounded. It’s a nice round number. Kind of seems like it wants to give me a hug… and I suspect that it will. I’m not generally much of a hugger, but I can certainly appreciate the sentiment and take comfort in the fact that the hug is only metaphorical– no actual touching necessary 😉

Did you watch Sesame Street when you were younger? I did, and I loved it. (I suspect it fueled my extreme love of all things Muppet even today…) One of my favorite little skits ever was when a guy sang “U Really Got a Hold on Me” while a big letter U hugged him over and over again (the link is to the actual skit on You Tube– it’s totally worth the watch). That’s how I’m imagining this big hug from 30– not only have I made peace with it, but I’m to the point where I think it might just be awesome.