Thursday, April 26, 2012

I didn't hug my landscaper

He came by this morning to walk our yard and talk over some landscaping ideas. He is tall and lean, fit from physical outdoor work. And handsome. I so wanted to hug him, and very nearly did.

But that moment of propriety held me back. That split second that you realize maybe it's best not to say or do whatever urge is there. But I really, really wanted to hug my landscaper. Because he's also my son.

I think most moms face this quandary. Sons reach about 12 years old and give mom the message loud and clear: "no PDA!" I get it. Being mothered just isn't very manly, I suppose. Boys need space to watch their dads and learn to become a man. If mom doesn't step back, her son will push her aside.

When one of our sons was about 16, I tried hugging him good-bye as we left separately from our vacation. He was going on a mission trip while we headed home. Trouble was, there were several of his peers standing there. I should've known better.

He pushed me away, refusing any motherly affection. I cried for the first half hour of our trip, in sadness and anger. I changed that kid's diapers, woke him in time for school, went to all his ball games, made his lunches and helped with homework. I even let him shoot me with a paintball gun. And he couldn't give me a hug?

If boys came with an instruction manual, the first page should stress this rule: hug your mother, unashamedly and often. She raises you, then sets you off in life to be strong, to be a husband and father. So when you don't need her so much, maybe she needs a little of you. A little love. And a few hugs.


klrodman said...

You've made me cry!!!

In 4 short weeks, I'll be saying "Goodbye" to David as he heads to camp for the summer! I may not be able to hold myself back (from hugging him)! But I'll try! Then he heads off to college for the first time. Meanwhile, my oldest son leaves for Iowa & grad school. Boo-hoo! But this is how I have raised go off & do their grown up, manly stuff! It's good, but it's sometimes so hard!

Dan said...

I'll give you a hug anytime.
Love you!

-That 16 year old son

Karen Dawkins said...

Dan, good job redeeming yourself there!

Barb, my kids have predictably acted much as yours, and I have appreciated the warnings. Thankfully, in this one area they have gone a different way! Nathan actually makes a point of hugging me in front of his friends -- and introducing me even! (Not sure how I earned that, but I'll take it!)


Anne said...

Well, we all know I have struggles with my now 17 year old son, but I have to say, he is not embarrassed to hug me in public. I have dropped things off at his tech school and he comes out to the car and thanks me and hugs me in front of windows where all can see! Thank you, Dakotah for your ability to show affection, no matter where!