I am almost an empty-nester. I’m not doing any jumping jacks or cleaning out a room to make it a craft or sewing room. First of all, that is so not me. Secondly, I still have my beautiful girls living at home. So, no library, reading nook, or “She-Shed” sort of room for me yet. My boys moved out about five months ago; hence, the almost empty nester.
Since the boys moved out, we declared Monday nights to be Family Dinner Night as that was the only day that worked with most of our family’s schedule. These are not fancy dinners. Well, maybe they are, since that is probably the only night we all sit around the table. All eight of us because my nephew and his fiance have been coming too. There is something special about us all squeezed in random chairs, around my hand-me-down table. The first one that starts eating is always the one chosen or volun-told to say the blessing. Isn’t that how it goes? There may be a football game on or some other sporting event. Because…that is how my boys roll.
Last week, as the boys were saying goodbye, I was reflecting on this time. These short couple hours every Monday evening. I have had the most hugs and kisses from my boys on these occasions than I ever did when they were living at home. I can think of a time when things were reversed with my boys and girls. My girls used to be all lovey-dovey and never having a problem cuddling or hugging. But the boys, they were far from it. They were too macho, or probably too stinky, on my part, (5th and 6th grade boys, anyone) to get near them. Oh I would have cuddled them, B.O. and all.
A hug is like a boomerang, you get it back right away.
Flash forward several years and I’m getting all the love from my two men children and my girls think I’m weird when I’m coming in hot for hug and a kiss and they push me aside. They love me. I know they do. There’s something about a son’s hug, though. These men, who are trying to figure out life on their own; yet, they are so full of love and respect for their mama. These hugs and kisses warm my soul every time. They are intentional. They get me when I’m least expecting it. It is so hard to put into words what that feels like. It’s like joy, crying-on-the-inside, pride, and the realization of God’s faithfulness in answering so many prayers, all into one. It makes me want to put them up on my lap or next to me on the couch and read “I’ll Love Your Forever, I’ll Like You For Always…” Does this make sense? If they would only go for that at their mature 25 and almost 27 years of age. A mother can dream, right?
I pray these young men of mine keep this up with their wives, future in-laws, family, and friends. I am a true believer in hugs because they say so much, without even having to say a word. A hug means, “you matter, you’re important, I see you, I love you, thank you.” This is amazing for men, because, men are often not into talking or sharing their feelings. Those hugs tell me, “I love you Mom, I miss you, you are home to me.”
Mamas, if you’re in that stage with little or teen boys who don’t want you to walk them to the classroom anymore, or they have you drop them off one street away from the school entrance, don’t let it get you down. Keep praying. Keep giving them affection and affirming the young men in your life because it will come back full circle. I pray your boys knock your socks off as mine have with these simple, yet powerful, hugs and kisses, even though I only get them once a week. Get through those days of having to Lysol their bedrooms and deal with their stinky clothes. Don’t take it personally when they say you embarrass them when you yell, “I love you, honey” as they get out of the car to meet up with friends. Deep down, they love it. Keep doing it. They’re storing these moments in their little hearts. You’ll be surprised when their hearts get so big and they come at ya with that hug and kiss. Take it all in.
For you mamas who have young men that live away from home and don’t get to experience that physical hug, cherish those texts, those phone calls, and those pics on FB (even if they are sharing someone else’s post, they’re thinking about you). Record each “I love you” in that heart of yours. Keep praying for them. Keep instilling love and compassion in them. Plant them seeds, girlfriend.
Hugging you so tight,