One More Hug

I see it often as an elementary school principal. The student left clinging to the legs of his mother or father, pleading desperately for them not to leave, wanting just one more hug. It's sad. Heartbreaking in fact. I see the emotional turmoil the parents go through as they are trying to escape the grasp of their child. All the parents want to do is leave and all the child wants them to do is stay. It's hard all the way around.

I see it often as an elementary school principal, but I hardly ever see it from the perspective of the parent...until today. My wife works in the same pre-school our four year old son, Cooper attends. She is accustomed to the extra hug or clinging to the leg as she is taking Cooper to class, desperately trying to get back to her classroom before her students arrive. While that is happening, I am already at work. I miss a lot of those moments. It may be the nature of my job, but one day I will get to officially experience Cooper's first day of kindergarten and anticipate the continual embrace as he tries to get just one more hug. Until then, I get to experience days like today.

Donuts with Dad.

It is one of the events I look forward to at Cooper's school. It is just me and him. I pick him up in his mom's classroom prior to the start of the day and hop in line with the other dads who are there to eat donuts with their children.

We enjoyed two glasses of OJ and two of the best glazed donuts we could find. Just me and him. I was able to wear a designer tie, that was one of a kind and got to read "Meet My Dad" through the eyes of my son.

I know you cannot read the paper Cooper is holding, oh so carefully, because his fingers were sticky and he didn't want to get the paper sticky, but let me hit some of the highlights.

What are his favorite things to eat: all kinds of grown up things
How tall is Daddy: 1ft (We have some time to work on measurement)
What is Daddy's hair like: like bald hair, it's not done growing
What is your favorite thing to do with Daddy: play
Where did you and Daddy meet: at Amber's at small group

I feel I need to clarify the last one. Clearly Cooper took this questions literally, as I meet him and Julie each Wednesday night at our friends Josh and Amber's house for small group. Just so happens they filled this out in class on a Thursday morning. Funny!

As we finished our donuts and captured a couple of memorable selfies, it was time to walk Cooper to his classroom. As we approached the door, I could feel it. I could feel what I had seen countless times before. His arms were clenched around my legs and he was not letting go. He did not want me to leave. After about five "one more" hugs, I heard myself giving advice to the parents who I had seen in this same position before...just walk away. Terrible advice. If I walk away, this four year old is coming with me. He is latched on tight. As I pried his little fingers from my legs and gave him one last hug, his teacher saved the day and distracted him with an activity that was beginning in the classroom.

Whew. Not easy. The drive back to work left me wondering how he was doing. Chances are he transitioned just fine and was playing with his friends and had long forgotten about saying good-bye to me. Only problem was, I had not forgotten about it. Eventually, the day went on and the thoughts faded from my mind, but as the day came to an end and I embarked on my drive home, I could not wait to get home to give him a big hug.

I know one day, the last thing Cooper will want is to hang on to my leg, but in the meantime, I will soak it in. He wants me around and that is just what I want. I need to be mindful of that. I need to be aware of the moments at home. I need to spend the time I have playing, having light saber fights and listening to the stories Cooper has to share. Then at the end of the night, I need to be sure I give him just one more hug.

What was your moment today?

Labels: , , , , ,