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For the past three years I have dedicated myself to my son and nothing more. In doing this I have sometimes (often) neglected myself and my needs. Although I have a clear understanding of the perils in making this choice I justify it by saying “motherhood=sacrifice”. I have not been out on a date or in the company of anyone since I was three months pregnant with him. He will be three years old next month.

Last night I went to dinner with a close friend of mine whom I had not seen since before I gave birth to my son. My friend had not been introduced to me as a mom. The only memories that lay between us were those of me as a single, free, and adventurous woman. This cautious woman that sat across the table cutting meat into little pieces,assisting this tiny person with holding his drink, and wiping crumbs from his mouth must have seemed like a stranger to my friend. I caught my friend looking across the table in what seemed to be a range of emotions from surprised, to disbelief, and maybe even a little amazement.

In the midst of watching me be a mom for the first time, my friend still somehow managed to treat me like the woman that I once was. I felt like myself again for the first time in a long time. Every worry and care, stress and struggle in my life had no meaning in those moments. We were two friends catching up on life with the company of a pleasant and well behaved little person.

My friend won my son over during dinner by playing swords and drums with chopsticks, racing crayons across the children’s men, and just talking to him and acknowledging him as an individual and a guest at the dinner table. Meanwhile I was also spoken to and treated as an individual and catered to with each and every one of my needs attended to. It was different being taken care of.

For me being a mother ushered in so many changes. Changes in my priorities, the way I dress, my body, the way I feel about myself just to name a few. The feeling of being glamorous and beautiful has seemed to escape me. Last night although I was draped in my usual all black apparel from head to toe with not an inch of makeup or lip-gloss on I felt like a beauty queen. I felt beautiful by the way that my friend stared directly into my eyes and not for one second focused on the pounds I’ve gained the clothes I wore or the ponytail dawned on my head. My friend used the windows of my soul to see into me.

At the end of the night I was hugged tightly and held closely. For three years I have managed to overlook the aching of loneliness and the pain of being touched until that moment. Just a simple sincere hug soothed what I did not know was ailing. An embrace that made me feel safe, protected, and cared for. Smelling the scent of another human being and taking in the aroma of their cologne made me feel alive. Funny how the smallest gestures of kindness can open your eyes to so much.

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