In Lieu of Hugs

It was hard to say goodbye to loved ones without tight embraces enveloping whispered assurances

Memories cannot make up for absent hugs.

It’s Tuesday evening, time to write, but the page stares at me. We are in Chicago, arriving a few days ago to spend the weekend with family celebrating our granddaughter LLJ’s first birthday. Her extended maternal family flew in from Canada. Our son and his wife, sharing an Airbnb with family, offered us their condo. The family lines blur as we greet each other and get reacquainted. The girls who were children at the last visit are now graceful teens. This is the first time meeting the three-year-old girl, having watched her grow on Facebook. She invites us to stay in the Airbnb. Another baby, a boy in this field of estrogen. just weeks younger than LLJ offers another perspective on infancy.

With so many people around there was little chance for 1:1 time with LLJ. We held back, allowing those from greater distances and fewer chances for interaction to take their share. We would celebrate on her actual birth date after the “Canadians” returned home.  

Then Covid bit one more time, a sore throat suggesting SD take a home test and revealing the presence of the virus. The plans for a light supper and cake at C-boy and P-DiL’s home were scrapped in favor of sandwiches at the park on this beautiful early spring day. However, caution against the virus was high preempting hugs and demanding a modicum of social distancing.

We leave tomorrow. My eyes drank in the beauty of my family. Usually my son’s hugs recall his devotion to his mother as an eight-year-old. My daughter-in-law’s beautiful hair warms my face. Without the embraces, I imagined the baby’s fresh smell of soft skin and the strong arms of my little boy, sensed the warm silkiness of P-diL’s hair.

It was hard to say goodbye to loved ones without tight embraces enveloping whispered assurances. There are plans for us to return in four weeks for another family celebration. But Life is not guaranteed. For now, memories must serve.

Author: Mary Cornelius

I am an aging woman who writes three blogs.