“He loved constantly, instantly, spontaneously, without thought or words. That’s what he taught me. Love is not something you think about; it is a state in which you dwell.
That was his gift.”

~ Joshua in Lamb by Christopher Moore


Yesterday, I took Katie and Brooke into a clothing shop with me. That’s getting easier. Not easy, but easier. Quieter. Less destructive. The frustrated and/ or panicked yelps are fewer and farther between. The knocked-over displays and scattered piles of clothing are steadily dwindling. Not there yet, but close. There’s light at the end of the tunnel. It’s even almost fun. At the very least it’s no longer like chewing glass.

While I was paying for the fabulous shirt that I found (on a REALLY good sale!) Brooke made her way over to a male mannequin in the window. She stood just inches from him and looked up warily into his face. I watched her intently as she reached out and slowly, gently touched his hand. The shopkeeper completely abandoned our transaction to watch the interaction with me. We both smiled as she reached her little arms around her new friend’s waist and lightly laid her head on his plastic abs. A hug.

She made her way back to me just in time for me to finish up and collect my purchase. Katie was off in another direction, peeking at heaven knows what she may have found. I looked up and smiled at a girl of about twenty shopping with her mom. Flash forward. Might we look like that someday?

Brooke let go of my hand and walked straight up to the girl. She didn’t say a word as she wrapped her arms around the girl’s waist and gave her a tender squeeze. It happened so fast that I could barely react. The girl was wonderful. She was shocked, but laughing. Both she and her mom gave me sweet, gracious smiles as I ushered us toward the door.

As we walked out, Katie lowered her voice into a conspiratorial tone. “Mama,” she stage-whispered, “Brooke HUGGED that lady. Why did she DO that?”

I looked at Brooke, humming contentedly as she made her way along the sidewalk.

“Well, honey,” I said with a shrug, “perhaps she thought she looked like she could use a hug.”

I explained to Brooke that we don’t hug people that we don’t know. I told her that we can say, “hello” to them or we can shake their hand if we’d like to, but that it’s unexpected to walk right up to them and give them a hug.

I thought of adding, “which is a little sad, really” but I left that part for another day.

18 thoughts on “hugs

  1. Aw, that’s a sweet story. Isn’t it funny about personal space boundaries? Hannah would FREAK OUT if someone she didn’t know even acted like they were going to touch her, or even got too close, but she thinks nothing of going up to random people and touching them. It sounds like Brooke has the same sort of thinking in that respect. You gotta love our girls though!

  2. natalie ~ brooke is exactly the same way. heaven forbid someone had come up to her and done what she did with this girl. as i said a couple of posts ago, ‘her timing. her terms.’ and as luau pointed out in the comments, she comes by that honestly .. ha

    pixie ~ and we loves us some pixie!

  3. That was one lucky lady to get a hug from the fabulous Brooke. Lucky mannequin too. They’ll all be talking about how cute she was when they come to life tonight after the store closes.

  4. Totally! It is sad. That is what I love about TC, even though he has autism, he is so tender (at times). He will come up to you, stroke your cheek and tell you that you are so pretty!

  5. she’s just setting up her safe hugs. the ones that feel right. weird, in a way, but perfectly right at the same time. some hugs just make their own niceness. so she’s got a radar for those. quite nice.

  6. God, I hope that she never stops hugging.

    And yes – shopping together? You won’t have to wait for 20.

    I got it at 9. (There’s a post a-brewin’ on that!)

    Love you.

  7. Took the kids to the Rugged Bear recently and it was nightmarish. No hugs or smiles there … although we did score some cute pajamas on sale.

    You are further down the road and give me such hope! Can’t wait until Jack hugs some stranger and Amy gives me the “but mom…” look.

    For now, it’s,, etc., etc… 🙂

  8. I wonder which hug felt “better” to her? It is sad that we can’t hug everyone…ever see that YouTube (sure you have – the world has) “Free Hugs”…it always makes me cry…

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