Bedtime at our household is a ritual. It varies day-to-day since I work nights, but when I’m home, it’s a ritual. Now, my oldest is a boy, and routine hasn’t turned into ritual. Every night I’m home, my girls ask if I am going to come into their room (they share a bed). What they want is a hug. No, they want several hugs. It becomes the ultimate hugfest when I’m headed out of the room and they ask, “Wait! Can I have another hug?”
They are very sweet, and I love their hugs, but I’ve gotten to the point where, before their first hug, I find myself saying, “Don’t miss it!” Sometimes they get several hugs, and then ask again as if they hadn’t gotten one for a month. At that point I have been known to ask, “Did you miss it?”
(mean old Dad)
The ritual is typically this: They ask, my wife and I usually go in, we hug, then we pray together, then we talk, and try to leave. We give them a “final” hug, and they ask for another. Sometimes I pounce on them and squish the daylights out of them. Sometimes I say, “Uh…no.”
In all this I realize that they need this kind of affection.
A lot of it.
The hug is one of my favorite things, and my family gives the best ones. They need to feel your embrace, know your safety, and sense your love. Even if you don’t feel you have a lot to offer as a dad, you have one gift no one else can give: the embrace of a dad.
Can you be a hugger?