I don’t do a lot of reblogging here on Improvising Fatherhood, but this is so good I have to share it with you. David Vienna, author of The Daddy Complex, wrote about the power of hugs, and I know exactly how he feels.
If you’ll allow me to be completely honest, I wasn’t one of those people who thought a hug could make anyone feel better. I know it didn’t work for me. When I was in college, my bike got stolen and I was pretty upset. My girlfriend gave me a hug to cheer me up. But after the hug, my bike was still fucking gone. So, my mood didn’t change. (It’s a wonder we didn’t last.)
Apply that same equation to any and all times someone tried to cheer me up with a hug. I mean, sure, I like hugs. They feel good and stuff and are a fairly solid way to express affection, but I never really thought they had magical healing powers or anything… until I had kids.
Last night, I wasn’t feeling great and Wyatt was being a bit bossy. I didn’t have the energy to go toe-to-toe with him. When I told him it was time to put jammies on, he yelled, “No!” and danced away. I just sat there rubbing my temples. He returned and asked, “Are you sad, Papa?”
“Yes,” I said.
He asked, “Would a hug cheer you up?”
Again, I said, “Yes.”
He wrapped his arms around my neck and squeezed me tight, adding a kiss on the cheek. And I’ll be damned if it didn’t cheer me right the hell up.
Not even an hour later, Wyatt got upset about something. He said, “How can you make me happy, Papa?”
I knew what he was fishing for. I said, “A hug,” offering something I’d defined as relatively useless just three years prior. He opened his arms wide and I gave him a big hug. He hopped into bed smiling. As I tucked him in, I asked, “Are you happy?”
He said, “Yes.” And I knew it was true because it was true for me, too.