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Waiting For Those Big Hugs

My friend and former colleague Phyllis and I have shared many portions of our lives that have intersected because of our children. Her daughter Amanda and my son Jamie were in the same schools and grades from the time they were in eighth grade until college.

We went through the trials and tribulations of their adolescence together. She talked at length about dance and theater while I’m sure I bored her with basketball scores and dirt bike escapades.

When they attended dances and proms, we shared photos and up-late stories. As they moved on to college, we leaned on each other as we were forced to cut the proverbial apron strings.

During those four years of college we compared how many times our kids would call or not call. We laughed when we realized the first thing we always asked them was “Did you eat today?” Mothers worry about their kids’ eating habits no matter the age.

And when our kids found their true loves and dove into pools of matrimonial bliss, we exchanged waterproof mascara to ensure the wedding pictures would not be ruined by our tears.

Watching them leave at their weddings, we agreed, it felt as if all the air had been sucked out of the room and we had to learn to breathe again. It’s a mother thing.

Then our respective children and their spouses graced us with grandchildren and we now bask in the glow of grand-parenting. We used to get sideway glances in the office from our general manager as he would see us sharing pictures of grandbabies just about every day. It’s a grandmother thing.

During all of those years, Phyllis and I coined a phrase about how we missed “the essence” of them. You know that feeling when you can hug your kids or grandkids after a long absence — that was the essence we missed.

We have been trying to fill that void of no physical contact from those outside of our homes. We employ FaceTime, send pictures and even record stories to tell our loved ones.

Now in this current world of social distancing, I am reminded of how we miss the essence of so many people we love. All the hugs we cherish from one another are on hold. So be forewarned, when this is over, Phyllis and I will be comparing notes again — after we share a much-needed hug.

Heather Ziegler can be reached at hziegler@theintelligencer.net.

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