Hugs are like that first sip of coffee on a beautiful Saturday morning; or that hot bath after you’ve been sledding all day; or that moment when your cold headache finally eases. 

Brief, beautiful and so very needed.

I spent the weekend away from my family at a work retreat in the sandhills of Nebraska. I’ve only been away from my kids for longer than 24 hours three times since I’ve been a mama, last weekend included. 

Hugs were needed before this adventure. 

Gracie, (she’s 4) gave me a great big hug on Thursday night. Ella, (she’s 6 but on her sassy days acts 13) gave me one, too.

I knew they would miss me, a little. But they are daddy’s girls. In reality, I would miss them more than they missed me. And that’s good. I’m learning, it’s supposed to be that way. 

I was hesitant about the trip. I like the routine of my life. I like having internet at my fingertips and my children in their bedrooms just down the hall from me. I also like to wake up each morning and get a hug.

But not even a virtual hug was readily available last weekend. Spotty internet connection made it nearly impossible to communicate with my family, which left me in unfamiliar territory.

Sometimes, unfamiliar territory can be a scary adventure, most of the time it’s a chance to learn a little something. 

My weekend trip made me pause. Normal distractions were gone. No internet connection, no TV, no little girls needing noses wiped or glasses of water filled or hair washed.

It was just me, a group of teenagers, a few adults and the open Nebraska sky.

I didn’t think of it then, but now home, amongst my normal routine and comfortable surroundings, the time away was good for me. 

I knew it would be. I bet it would be for you, too. 

In the morning, I listened to a Meadowlark sing and watched the sun kiss the hills of one of the most gorgeous areas on earth. At night I watched a shooting star flash across a brilliantly lit night sky and listened to the river run and coyotes howl. 

And during the day, I watched an incredible group of teens who, at their most honest, vulnerable moments, were plentiful in the hug department. 

It was good to be around huggers. They are my most favorite kind of people. 

When I finally arrived home on Sunday afternoon, I was greeted by two little girls who missed me – a little. Grace gave me a big hug that lasted several moments. Ella looked up from her video game just long enough for a quick hug and a quick comment.

“Glad you’re home, mom.” 

It wasn’t her best effort, but it was a hug. And a hug, good effort or not, was all I needed. 

I’ve learned, just a little time away, makes the embrace that much sweeter.

Leslie Means

Leslie is the founder and owner of Her View From She is also a former news anchor, published children’s book author, weekly columnist, and has several published short stories as well. She is married to a very patient man. Together they have three fantastic kids.  When she’s not sharing too much personal information online and in the newspaper – you’ll find Leslie somewhere in Nebraska hanging out with family and friends. There’s also a 75% chance at any given time, you’ll spot her in the aisles at Target.