It’s the cutest thing my four-year-old son is doing these days, calling together a “family hug.” I don’t know exactly where he learned this. We are unabashedly tablet and TV friendly in our home, so maybe I can thank children’s programming? All I know is that I did not start this, but I never want it to end.
Family Hug: When all the members of a family embrace at once
One day last summer, we were in a pool, laughing and playing. That’s one of the first times his joy bubbled over and he called a family hug together. So there we were, the three of us, in a tight embrace in the middle of the pool. Most recently, he said “Mommy, I love you.” with a big hug. Then yelled, “Family hug! Daddy, get over here! Family hug!” My husband dutifully rose from the couch to join the hug in the middle of the kitchen.
For that moment, it is just us three, our family, safe and together. I am instantly warm and happy and full of gratitude.
Building a Connection
I am not a psychologist or a doctor, but I am a human and I can tell you there’s something to these family hugs. It’s so easy to get bogged down with day-to-day duties. There are countless responsibilities pulling us in different directions and demanding our attention. Between work, cleaning, cooking, getting the kids to school, birthday parties, and activities, how often to do we stop and breathe? These little hugs remind me that it doesn’t take much time to pause and connect with those who mean the most to me.
My son is not always the cuddly type. Most days, he much prefers to be bouncing off the walls. I think that’s what makes these little outbursts of love so special. He genuinely feels an outpouring of emotion in that moment and acts on it. I know with time, he may not be so eager to join in a group hug with his parents. Maybe when he is a teen, too busy with his friends and life, I will be the one calling out for family hugs— I can only hope he obliges. I’ll be lucky to get a family fist bump.
For now, this is his way of expressing his feelings. From the pool to the kitchen, I’ve learned, it can happen just about anywhere. Our family hugs remind me to slow down and embrace the life we have together. They have taught me bonding is not always about how much time is invested, but about the emotions shared in a moment. That’s why I will always answer his call for a family hug with open arms.
I’d love to hear from you. How do you pause and connect with your family?