Because they hug back

Yesterday when I came home, Isaiah raised up his stubby arms from where he sat on his scooter, and whimpered at me to pick him up. As I held him he put his head on my shoulder and went: “Mmmmm.” It was a sound of the deepest satisfaction, and for a moment I couldn’t figure where it had occurred to him to let out such a soul-soothed noise. Then I heard myself making the same sound.

Caleb and Eli crowded around me later, and competed to see who could hug me the hardest, until I reminded them that I am old, and that my back hurts. I don’t know why my back hurts, except that sometimes in my dreams I run really fast to stay a half-step ahead of the monsters.

Later that night Isaac scurried past me on his way to bed. I called him over, and drew him up into my lap. He wrapped his arms around my neck and rested that way, completely still. I breathed in his temporary smell of fresh-washed boy and gave silent thanks that I am a father.


  1. Jeff

    I have travelled extensively during the last 20 years of my career, whilst raising three wonderful children in partnership with an amazing wife. I will never forget the father-return-home hug with my youngsters, which contained a greater degree of intimacy than any other moment in our times together over the years. As if all those miles of relational separation were weaving back together again into something good, maybe beautiful even.

    Your comments reminded me of those moments.


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