Filling the Void

I hug my two sons innumerable times throughout a day. I snuggle them. Like many dads, my children make my life more purposeful by their sheer being. Work takes on an extra level of necessity through the desire to provide—to improve their daily lives, to help shelter them as they develop into and through adulthood. I hug them because I believe hugs are the simplest proof of love.

I never set out to be such a hugger, premeditatively, but my earliest recollections of love are the hug line that evolved naturally from the hellos and goodbyes of Christmas parties at Grandma’s house. Five aunts, three uncles, dozens of cousins—dozens. Who needs roses when you know what a bouquet of hugs feels like?

As I grew older, hugs became my calling card. Older sister off to college, older brother off offing around, and then old enough to visit Grams on my own. Hugs. The older I got, the more I knew my Grams was near her death—the more I squeezed her in my arms, locked my arms together one hand locking the other wrist—and then sat down for hourlong conversations. 

Yet, the void being filled is not from missing my Grams. She knows that. The filled void is for myself. My sons can not articulate a void that yet exists—but when it does they will know how to show their love and to fet love from those they value most.

When I hug my sons, my babies, I am giving them the love I wanted but could not receive, for my father is ethereal and has been since I was about the age of my older boy, now. Six, nearly seven. 

I am lucky, so I hug them. I Imagine my dad would love be to feel that love, to give that love to me. To acknowledge an existence in such a way that comforts and approves of your being—that is a hug. To acknowledge our existences are a chain physically broken at birth but linked permanently by a force as invisible and invincible as gravity. 

A good, sincere hug has that galactic gravitational force.

Powered by Squarespace. Home background cover image by  Ashley Hornish. Author photo by Lynn Ankney