You should never underestimate the power of a timely hug. I have never been much of a touchy-feely person, preferring that my personal space be respected even by close relatives. I feel almost claustrophobic if people get too close or too clingy. That said I sometimes feel the need for a hug.
As some of you know I’m a teacher. I’m surrounded by munchkins all day–the kind that wiggle, yell, talk nonstop and giggle uncontrollably at the simple mention of underwear. My husband often wonders why I refuse to go out on Fridays. It’s simple; I can barely move at the end of the week and my brain is mush. The couch and some non-threatening TV shows or movies are all I can handle by the end of the week.
Today there was something in the air. Teachers around the world have never been able to identify it, but we always know when it’s happening. There is even more giggling than usual, a lot of horseplay (which often ends up in tears), and you don’t even have to go as far as uttering “underwear” because even words like “eat” and “sit” provoke epic bursts of laughter that spread like wild fire amongst the munchkin hordes.
The simple act of climbing three steps and waiting for me to open the door to the classroom seems too complicated today and invariably one student accidently pushes the one behind him stirring up a undeserving rant of accusations. He did it on purpose. He pushed me off the steps. It was Timmy, Mrs. Non-Hugger
We somehow manage to enter the classroom without further incidents, but next thing I know little Timmy is in tears at his seat.
“What happened, Timmy?” I ask, surprised by his outburst of emotion.
Little Timmy, a quirky sweet boy, looks up at me with tears rolling down his cheeks and says, “I need a hug.”
This is where Mrs-Stay-Out-Of-My-Space opens up her arms and says, “Honey, hugs are always available for free in my classroom” After a good long hug and a bit of crying , Timmy recovers from the hurt of being wrongly accused by his classmate and he’s ready for some giggling with the rest of the class.
That hug did my soul some good, as well. But the good feeling doesn’t last long, for another munchkin has a major meltdown over the fact that our time is up, and we must return to their regular classroom. He wants to finish coloring his Miss Nelson from the day before. Nothing–and I mean nothing–sways him from the fact he WANTS to finish it. I try to talk him into accepting the bribe of a small box of crayons to take home, but it backfires. Now, he wants to take it, but he wants to make sure he can return it tomorrow.
“But honey, tomorrow is Saturday and I won’t be here. You can give it to me on Monday.”
“NOOOOOOOOO…I want to return it tomorrow. TOMORROW…you don’t understand.”
“I do understand. You are frustrated because you wanted to finish your picture, but I also have rules I must follow and it’s time to take you all back to your classes.”
“NOOOOOOOOOOOO…you don’t understand.” Followed by howling that would make any wolf proud, and a river of tears.
I now need a hug really badly. I even play with the idea of following Timmy’s example, turn to the rest of the group and ask for one. However, I really need to get them to their classes. I call a friend in the office and she comes to my rescue. She stays and talks with my out-of-control-sweetums while I deliver the others safely to their classroom teachers.
I have one last errand to run before returning for the semi-isolation of my room. I just walked in a classroom to drop off a reading tool when I feel little arms wrapping themselves around my waist. It’s my “attachment”. I call her that because she likes to walk “attached” to me.
“Missed you, Mrs. Non-Hugger,” she says, looking at me with her innocent, sweet eyes.
And just like that my headache fades (at least for a few minutes) and I feel good again. Never underestimate the power of a hug.