Thursday, August 14, 2008

Sometimes There Just Aren't Enough Hugs

I’ve come to the conclusion there just aren’t enough hugs, that no matter how many times you embrace a person you love deeply, it will never, ever, ever, ever be enough. It is simply impossible to fill up your heart.

Where did this come from? Sending off my kids to college. (Read: tearing my soul apart by letting my kids grow up, become adults and move away from home).

Sent the first one off and was completely unprepared for the antics of my heart. In my head I knew it was right, he was in God’s place for him, he was ready and it was all-good. Yet my heart was in full-scale mutiny, “Nooooooooo. Don’t let him go, bring him back, spin the clock in reverse, hold him tight, protect him and never let him go.” I’ve never had such a civil war in my body. “Let him go – hold on to him-let him go-hold onto him…” During the long 8-hour drive home my heart won and I sobbed like a baby.

One of the hardest pieces of letting go that first time was my perceived regret combined with the finality of the moment. I wished I had spent more time, done more things, had more conversations about the important issues of life, taught more skills, and on and on and on. And I wished I’d hugged him more. As if that would have made it easier to have him out of hugging range. My son now tells me I did enough of all those things (perhaps even too many of some).

So I determined I would do more of those things with the remaining 3 kids. And I did. Probably to their chagrin. The next one went off to school and it still wasn’t enough. I stepped up the effort with the third, she left, still not enough. One more chance, all out blitz in his final year. I dropped him off last weekend and my head and heart rekindled the war. I’m thinking, “C’mon. What more could I have done?” The answer: nothing. It was not lack of effort, it is a reality that I hate living with and can no longer deny.

It is not possible to fill up our hearts. There just simply are not enough hugs.

No matter how many times, we will always wish for one more hug.
No matter how many times, our hearts will break when we have to say good-bye.
It is not something I did or didn’t do; it is the reality of life that doesn’t make any sense to our heads. There is nothing that can keep us from longing for those we love.

And it is not just hugs. You can replace “hugs” with all the other things we enjoy. Smiles, dinners, walks, ballgames, concerts, touches, laughs, and on and on and on. We think, “Just one more…” Take it from a dad who keep giving “just one more” – doesn’t work. There just aren’t enough to fill our hearts.

There are always regrets. But truth is, it is impossible to do everything we wanted to because it would have taken 60 years of 48-hour days. There just isn’t enough time or resources. So choices are made, and our faulty best really is enough. Better be because there is nothing more.

Hence, the empty nest is here. Sure, the youngest two will come home from college and be with us for a while, but not as children. An era is over. It is right. It is good. It is as it should be. It just stinks that my heart can hurt this bad when things are going the way they should!!! But I’ve realized that if I let myself bawl and grieve it, the memories get brighter, stronger and more meaningful as the loss fades. And grieving allows me to let go in a healthy way, develop an even stronger, healthier relationship with these adults that look an awful lot like the little kids that used to run around our house.

Boldly, Herb

Psalm 30:5 (NIV) "weeping may remain for a night, but rejoicing comes in the morning."

(To listen to Herb via the internet go to )

No comments: