Mad Hugs and Limitless Love

April 19, 2021

She’s almost double digits so the complicated nature of her emotions and expressions run deep. She’s mad her latest request has been denied. She wants a phone. She’s not getting one. You can imagine her nearly ten-year-old disgust at our answer. 

It’s bedtime and our nightly traditions continue, despite her disappointment. I hold her baby brother as I charismatically sing our goodnight song. As I lean in for a kiss, she pulls away making the task more difficult than it should be. I ask for my nightly snuggle and hug and watch as she delicately refuses. 

“I don’t want a hug tonight. I’m mad. I’m mad at you.”

I walk out of the room, she’s thinking she won, that her hurtful request has been accepted. Except she’s wrong.

I finish the nightly routine by singing to her brothers and tucking each one in carefully, just the way they like. Finalized by their personalized goodnight song. Then, I take a deep breath and head to her room. 

I hop into bed with her as she pulls the covers over her head. As I wait for her beautiful face to reappear, I whisper “I love you.” I whisper that it’s ok to be mad and angry and disappointed. It’s ok to feel conflicted and annoyed. It’s ok to wish for different answers and be upset at the ones we receive.

Then I graciously explain why going to bed with no hugs isn’t the answer. I explain that denying yourself and others acts of love isn’t a proper solution. I tell her I’ve made the same mistake she’s making now with my own mother. I tell her I’ve shouted hateful things and demanded my mother leave my room without a hug or kiss. And then through tears, I tell her this:

Sweet girl, hug me. Squeeze me tight and let me do the same. I love you. 

Please don’t deny a hug from your mother. Don’t miss the opportunity for a priceless glimmer of love. 

Hug me when you’re mad. Hug me when you’re sad. Hug me when you’re angry or confused or annoyed. Just hug me. It may not take away your pain or fix your disappointments, but it will remind you that you’re loved. Always loved, no matter your emotion. No matter your circumstance. No matter what, you’re always loved. 

I’d give anything to hug my mother again. I miss her love, her attention, and her unwavering support and devotion. One day you’ll miss me too. Until then, we hug. 

We hug as much as we can. We say I love you as much as we can. We love fiercely and hug abundantly, even when we are mad, disappointed or frustrated. We show love, always, because one day we won’t be able to. One day you’ll wish so desperately for the hug of someone who’s gone that your heart will physically ache, the way mine aches for my mother’s hugs.

Please don’t deny a hug from your mother. Don’t miss the opportunity for a priceless glimmer of love. 

I love you mad. I love you angry. I love you frustrated. 

I love you confused. I love you annoyed. I love you disappointed. 

I love you, always.

So, sweet girl, hug me. Squeeze me tight and let me do the same. I love you.

xox, Chels

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Chelsea Ohlemiller

Chelsea Ohlemiller

A thirty-something wife, mother and educator who has Indiana roots and a passionate spirit. Chelsea is a sappy romantic, coffee junkie, book collector, and person who wears her heart on her sleeve. She’s sarcastic, full of jokes, full of tears, and enjoys writing most when life gets messy or complicated. In 2017, Chelsea's mother passed away. Through her grief journey, she decided to take her mother’s advice and share her writing with the world. One day she gained the courage to honor her mother's wishes and write. It turned out to be one of the best decisions she's ever made.

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