In five days, I’ll be flying home for Christmas. The journey brings about a lot of anticipation. Hopping onto the plane is a bit surreal. Seeing the U.S. coastline from the window is exciting. Stepping off the plane is pretty damn exhilarating. But there’s one feeling I get when I go home that’s better than any other…
The moment when I hug my mom.
My mom has hugged me God-knows-how-many times in the last 23 years. There’s something special, however, about the hug that I get when I come home after months overseas. It’s like every hug we didn’t have over the previous months all rolled into one.
I’ve had this particular feeling three times. Each time, I couldn’t help but cry as I felt my mom’s arms wrap around me in the same way that they did when I was five years old.
A lot of folks assume that, because I live abroad, I’m not close with my family. They couldn’t be more wrong. In fact, it’s because of our closeness that I’m able to live and thrive here. Without my family’s love, I never would’ve come to the Czech Republic. It’s their encouragement that keeps me going when things get tough. In those moments, I imagine that one-of-a-kind hug that I’ll get on the next visit home. When I think of that hug—knowing that it’s always waiting for me, I can look past all the bullsh*t that life sometimes throws my way. You see, I’m lucky that family has always been a constant in my life. So, when my mom—or dad—hugs me, I hug back, as if to say “thank you” for my their unwavering support.
This week, as a major proponent of hugging (heck, I even hug trees), I challenge you to hug your loved ones. It’s a win-win for everybody. Gosh, even research shows that hugs can improve wellness, according to a 2016 U.S. News & World Report article. With that being said, please respect when someone doesn’t want to be hugged.
P.S. Usually, it’s my mom who hugs me first because my dad is behind the wheel, pleading for us to get in the car so that we can drive far away from the hell he knows as “JFK.”
P.P.S. I hope you like this week’s featured image that I took at Prague’s Old Town Square on Saturday. ‘Tis the season for hugging!