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Challenge: Gratitude & Giving

When the hugs stop: Gifts I hope to never again take for granted

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Today, we dropped off some puzzles for my parents in an effort to connect with them, and give them something to do during this time of isolation.

My mom and stepdad are both high risk because of age and underlying health conditions. My mom, because of her lungs. And my stepdad, because of his heart.

I dropped off the puzzles and could see my parents through the window. My mom and I both started to cry.

I have never wanted so badly to be able to hug her. Or him. But knew doing so wasn't worth the potential risk.

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I grabbed the birthday gift she had laying on the table for my daughter, and then walked back to the edge of the apartment complex parking lot where the rest of my family was standing.

As soon as I was far enough away, my mom and stepdad came outside to talk.

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We stood that way for a while — them on the porch and us on the edge of the parking lot, talking back and forth.

The distance was appropriate. And painful.

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As we said our goodbyes and walked to the van, I turned and looked at my mom. She and I both hugged the air. And our eyes welled with tears.

A gesture as simple as a hug.

Something she and I have done more times than I can count in my lifetime.

I am realizing there are so many simple things in life I have taken for granted. Things I thought I was grateful for, but in retrospect — didn't think much about. They were just a part of life. A part of living in contact with others.

A handshake. A shared meal across the table. An arm around the shoulder of a friend. A kiss on the cheek. Sitting side by side on a couch. Playing a game of cards with friends.

Hugging my parents.

The next time I get to hug them, I will hold on tightly, and a little longer than I did before. I will thank God for that hug and for their presence in my life.

Hugs I once took for granted.

Hugs I can't wait to have again.

Hugs I am grateful to have had.

And when our arms wrap around each other once more - hugs that will forever fill my heart with an abundance of gratitude.

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