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My Mom And Hugging Away The Judgement
You Have To Believe in The Good--Living Happy Roundup
My mother spent a lifetime hugging other people. Meeting after meeting, interaction after interaction, for the entire time that she was alive, she would hug people when she saw them and hug them when they left.
Her hugs were many.
Her hugs were long.
She would open her arms wide, her eyes would twinkle, her dimples would show and it was almost impossible not to step toward that 5 foot 1 frame and hug. She’d often smell like vanilla and brown sugar on top of her perfume, a fancy kind that she’d ask for every Christmas. It came from Jordan Marsh, which was a big deal store decades ago. It was fancy, too.
She would open her arms and you would step into them.
My mom always wanted to be a teacher, but life got in the way. Love with my stepdad when she was still in high school became a big deal drama. He was run out of state. She was desperate to leave home. She married my little hobbit down and though she was brilliant—impeccable at math and grammar, the fastest typist anyone in Bedford, New Hampshire had ever seen—she settled for a life without college. She raised her children. Felt unloved. Unfulfilled. Had another child and a scandal. That child was me.
“Don’t let anyone tell you that you are less, Carrie,” she’d tell me before I knew even what less meant. “You are good, so good.”
“You are too, Mommy,” I’d say back for years and years.
You are too.
My mom often felt judged by people who were richer, who had less drama, who weren’t addicted to Marlboro Lights or canned tuna, who got to go to college, by ministers who cheated at bowling, by men who cheated on their wives but didn’t get caught, and women too. She’d dance around the house when she vacuumed or did dishes singing about the “Harper Valley PTA” a song about a women judged in her small town for loving wrong.
But even then. She would throw her arms open and let people hug her. She’d know everything about everyone—she became the town clerk, a real estate agent, an office manager, organized her class reunions—and people told her things.
“We all have secrets,” she’d tell me. “You have to hug your way through them.”
My mom died over a decade ago. On her hospital bed, two days before she left, she tried to share her hospital ice cream with all of her surviving kids. She insisted.
“Good,” she murmured, “it’s so good.”
Hugs come in different ways. My mom knew that. Sometimes, people have personal boundaries and didn’t want one. She always respected that, too, but she’d find other ways to give them. In the offer of ice cream, in listening without judgement, in a dimpled smile, or in words. Sometimes her strongest hugs were words. Words like “You are good, so good.”
Despite all the drama in her life, despite her missed opportunities, my mom lived her life with purpose. That purpose? It was to hug. It was to remind people they are loved. It is to remind them that they are good.
So, in honor of her this Monday, let me share her purpose for a hot second.
You are worthy of hugs. You deserve them.
You are worthy of love. You deserve that, too.
And the inside of you? That part that sometimes feels too raw to share? It is good. So full of good.
A COUPLE OF COOL LINKS
LINKS FROM LAST WEEK
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