Random Brain Dumping

Musings and observations about life

Please don’t pinch me

Have you ever wanted something so badly that when you got it, disbelief took over? Recently, I had such an experience. Sadly, it began with a death.

Tabatha and Xavier with their mother, Sabrina.

Tabatha and Xavier with their mother, Sabrina, before our lunchtime cruise.

When my ex-daughter-in-law called just before Christmas, her words came fast but disconnected. Her sadness transcended the distance. I immediately knew something was wrong. She had lost her father. Her hero. His death, she said, forced her to realize the fragility of life, the pettiness of our decisions in the context of life. She wanted to reconnect.

An eternity had passed since we had last communicated. My two oldest grandchildren, her children, both were in single digits then. I think. I don’t remember.

The conversation filled me with incredible sadness and gratefulness at the same time. I struggled with how to reconnect with her and the children.

Baby steps. Yeah. Baby steps. “Don’t rush it; don’t be too eager,” I thought.

She and I became friends on Facebook, and exchanged text messages.

Xavier and Tabatha, and the zorse (a zebra and horse cross)

Xavier and Tabatha, and the zorse (a zebra and horse cross)

One phone call with the kids. Another phone call. Pictures and videos of the kids being shared.

Then, a plan. I would visit them in Florida. When the plan fell through, I pretended I was OK. I was devastated.

So was my mother, who called my ex-daughter-in-law and lashed out like a mother bear protecting her cub. I was doubly devastated. What if that call had jeopardized my chances of seeing my grandchildren?

I didn’t talk to my mother for two weeks. How could I say to her how angry I was (in a calm voice) without being disrespectful? We had never gone that long without talking. Once the words came to me, Mother and I talked, and I thanked her for her concern but respectfully insisted that she let me fight my own battles. Meanwhile, new plans for a Florida visit took shape. When I saw them, nothing else mattered.

Tabatha in 3-D glasses

Tabatha in 3-D glasses

Xavier in 3-D glasses

Xavier in 3-D glasses

When I think about having seen them, I’m taken back to the feeling of having my first grandchild, discovering the bond between a grandparent and grandchild. The time apart had not diminished the bond.

We did nothing special. We took a lunchtime cruise, their first. We rode horses, our third time together. We saw “MIB3” in 3-D and Imax, and have the glasses to prove it. We had breakfast and dinner. We bonded.

It’s been a month. I’m still floating. Please don’t pinch me. I know that the pinch indicates you’re awake, and what’s happening is really happening. In this case, I’m still in disbelief that I saw them, that we hugged and had fun together. I want this dream, this feeling to continue.

So, don’t pinch me. If you pinch me, I might wake up.

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June 25, 2012 Posted by | Random Brain Dumping | , , | 6 Comments

The art of hugging

One arm hug

Even though this hug involves only one arm, the squeeze makes it seem sincere.

I once read somewhere that for a well-balanced psyche, we should each get eight hugs a day. I’ll admit I generally operate in a deficit in that area, but when I get them, I want them done right.

“Right,” I know, is subjective. I’ve never seen instructions on how to hug. All I know is that I really (read that word slowly with emphasis) enjoy a hug done the right way.

Over the years, I’ve taught my relatives and some friends how I prefer to be hugged. It’s the type of hug that involves a strong embrace (almost a squeeze). It’s never the hug that includes a pat.

Pats seem insincere.

Pats with hugs, in my opinion, generally are reserved for people you feel compelled to hug but don’t really feel close to. Like that woman you hug at family reunion who says she’s your cousin but whose name and face you can’t seem to recall. Or, that person who’s overly affectionate and insists on hugging you, making you feel obliged to return the embrace in some form.

Hug. Pat. Release. Quickly.

Burp.

Casual hug between women

Katherine Waugh McCulloch (right), being embraced by a suffragette after her return from a trip to Springfield, Ill., to campaign for the right of women to vote. Hmm. What kind of hug would this be?

Yes, that’s how I feel when someone pats me. Like a baby having sucked down too much milk too quickly and being patted on the back until the bubbles come up as burps.

Actually, that’s not how I feel, but it’s what I always tell the person I’m feeling at the moment to discourage a repeat performance.

Then, there’s the guy hug. Shake hands and hold the handshake at the belly or chest, and then, with the other hand, reach around for a this-can-only-last-for-a-second embrace. Guys seem to hug this way only with men they know very well. If they don’t know each other well, they don’t hug at all. They stop at the handshake.

A niece and nephew seem to have invented a new type of hug. The sideways hug. It’s almost like walking beside someone you’re intimate with, while your arms are around each others’ waists. Except you’re not walking.

Guy hug

Shake hands and hold the shake, and then, with the other hand, reach around for a buddy embrace.

I really hate the sideways hug. I’m told they get it from their father. Their father told me that himself, so I guess they didn’t invent it, but they sure have mastered it.

Maybe I’m being selfish, but a hug should involve both arms. It should not involve pats. It should make you feel special. It should be sincere.

Sure, my inside voice complains when I get a hug with pats, the sideways hug or any hug that seems insincere, but I would prefer a bad hug over no hug.

Even a bad hug makes me feel good.

February 20, 2012 Posted by | Random Brain Dumping | , | 2 Comments

   

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