In honor of Mother’s Day I’m reposting one of my first blogs which is a tribute to the fabulous women in my family, especially my cousin Debbie whose love overflows with every hug! Happy Mother’s Day!
I am blessed to have been born into a family filled with the most amazing women that God ever put on the planet. Their love, strength and beauty continue to shape my life in immeasurable ways. For instance, I have an older cousin on my mother’s side who is a ‘hugger.’ Cousin Debbie is no ordinary hugger. There is no such thing as a ‘simple embrace’ for her. To me, Cousin Debbie’s hugs have always reigned supreme in my family. Don’t get me wrong, I come from a long line of generous huggers. My mother and grandma could certainly serve up a heartfelt embrace with the best of them. But I’ve always felt Cousin Debbie took hugging to an entirely new level. She hugs with such gusto and passion that it literally takes your breath away. Cousin Debbie is without a doubt my ‘Queen of Hugs.’
When the Queen wraps someone in her arms they have absolutely no choice but to surrender to her love. Her hugs are not obnoxious or abrasive. They are simply unforgettable. She always hugs tight and she always hugs long.
When I was a kid the Queen’s need to cling would, at times, catch me off guard and just plain frustrate me. Whether it was a special family gathering or she was just stopping by. Whether I had seen her the day before or hadn’t seen her in weeks, her Highnesses’ huge hugs were always filled with the lust for life that radiated from the beauty in her soul. But, being a kid all of that meaning was totally lost on me. I just thought the Queen needed to chill and relax her grip a bit. Surely she knew hugging with such force could injure a small child. Well, if she knew, she did not care because the Queen is no respecter of persons when it comes to hugs. She dishes them out to everyone the same. Me, my brother, my mother, her mother, her aunts, her husband, her children, her sisters, and I would guess even her cherished Rottweilers are not spared from the Queen’s long, snug and breathless hugs. It’s as if she’s determined to take a piece of you away with her from each embrace.
But here’s the thing, while I may have felt smothered by those hugs as a child I began to feel differently when I became a young woman. Leaving home, going off to college and living on my own gave me an up close and personal view of the world. People and situations weren’t always so pretty or fair. I cherished my independence but for the first time in my life I truly began to realize the importance of having a loving family who had my best interest at heart.
My maternal grandmother raised my brother and I after our parents divorced and our mother became ill. My grandmother’s plate was always full with work and taking care of my mother. So when I went to college, there weren’t many opportunities to enjoy family visits on the weekends. I only saw my family when I went home for summer or holiday breaks.
It was during those visits that I found myself eagerly anticipating our family gatherings and especially a visit with the Queen. I suddenly needed to feel Cousin Debbie wrap me in her well-toned arms, press me into her bosom, rock me from side to side, while rubbing and patting my back and warmly sighing, “Hmmmmm!” Now, instead of wishing the embrace would end, I was honored to give the Queen her due. I held on a little longer and squeezed a little tighter. I needed to fill up on the love and energy that she poured into each embrace and I needed her to know how much I appreciated her love.
However, it was not until I became a wife and mother that I was able to truly understand what fuels the Queen’s warm hearted hugs. I am blessed to now realize what the Queen must have learned from, her parents, and the rest of our family. It’s really a simple concept. Absolutely nothing is promised. Therefore, no hug is to ever be wasted. The Queen’s hugs, just like the ones I now give to my family and friends, ooze love and support. The Queen’s hugs always told me, “You’re beautiful, you’re special, I’m so glad you’re here.” They whispered, “Do your best, do what is right, don’t give up.” Most of all, the Queen’s hugs comforted me and lifted my spirit shouting, “I love you from the bottom of my heart.” So with every hug that I am blessed to give to another, I do my best to channel Cousin Debbie. My heart sings, “All Hail the Queen of Hugs!”