comfort

A couple of weeks ago, my granddaughter, Shai was asked to bowl on our Monday night league. She decided to, even though she had only bowled two other times in her life, and really didn’t know how. Like most of us, she thought there was nothing to it. Last week on her first week as a regular bowler, she began to have second thoughts and a bad case of nerves. She didn’t know how to do the approach, and nothing felt right. To top it off, she was faced with all the other bowlers, who have bowled for years. The night couldn’t have been much worse for her, and I couldn’t help her, even though I am a trained coach, because we were both bowling, and there simply wasn’t enough time. Shai set an average of 58, and by the end of the evening, she was convinced that this was a mistake, and she could never be a good bowler.

I promised her it would get better, and later in the week, I made plans to take her bowling so I would have time to coach her. Shai’s friend, Sterling was going to be a substitute on the league, so she came along. The first thing I told the girls was that they would be doing an approach, because it is the correct way to bowl, and the best way to improve  quickly. There were some very funny moments, such as sliding on the wrong foot, and gutter balls that barely got past the foul line first, but they stuck with it, and in the very short hour that we had to get this lined out, the girls made great strides. Of course, the real test of our success would be the following week…this week.

The girls were nervous, but I assured them that they would do great. I reminded them that I didn’t want to see any bowling with no approach. They assured me that they would bowl correctly. It was time for the real test. I was glad that the girls were bowling next to each other. There is still comfort in having a friend nearby. They both did great. No, they didn’t break 100, but they had decent games. Shai went from having a 176 series the first week to having a 244 series this week, and while Sterling didn’t bowl last week, she had a 233 series this week. Last week, Shai was convinced that she didn’t like bowling. When I asked her how she felt this week, she said it was fun. All the seasoned bowlers made the girls feel welcome, both last week and this week, but the difference is that this week, Shai felt more like a real bowler. Here comes the next bowling generation.

As we travel this road called life, we all have moments when we need a hug. Sometimes it is because we are hurt, whether physically or emotionally, and we are looking for someone to comfort us in that bad time. Those are the hugs that none of us will get through life without needing at some point, unfortunately, but they are not really the kind of hugs that we can honestly say we enjoy. They are simply necessary.

The kind of hugs that we all enjoy, are the ones that say, “I love you so much!!” Those hugs are so special, and we need them more than any other kind. We all need to know that we have family and friends who love us…no matter what. The first time we feel that love is often from parents or grandparents, and it is the kind of love that shapes our lives forever. Those hugs are so important, and children who do not receive them can be irreversibly warped by that omission. I am so thankful that my family has never been one to withhold hugs. It has shaped the kind of person I am, and my ability to give and receive love from those around me.

Of course, the greatest kind of hug is the kind that comes from the joy of celebration or reunion. The hug you get when you see someone that you haven’t seen in a while. Visiting your grandmother who lives miles away. Love knows no distance barrier. When we would go to Montana to visit Bob’s grandmother every year, the reunions were so sweet. Grandma was such a loving person, and Bob loved her dearly. He wanted his kids to know her, as well as they knew their other grandmothers who lived closer. And they did. Grandma loved her kids and grandkids so much that the miles made no difference…love traveled across the miles to light upon those who were far away from her.

Love can also grow between two people who share a special event, as was the case between my daughter, Corrie and her great grandmother, who she shared a birthday with. They had a closeness that lasted a lifetime and beyond. They shared birthday parties, and reveled in the fact that they shared that special day. Every time they saw each other, it was clear that their bond was forever. Even after grandma passed away in July of 1990, Corrie still feels her memory deeply…especially on her birthday. Sometimes that can be painful, yet bittersweet, because the memories of her love for her grandma, are still so strong.

Every grandma has a love for her grandchildren that goes so deep that it can’t be explained. I have been so blessed by my grandchildren, and I love getting hugs from each and every one. Grandchildren are the continuing blessing that starts with parenthood. The love you give to your own children sets the stage for the love that will come through your grandchildren. What a wonderful continuing saga.

Hugs have been more the commonplace event in our family. What a blessing that has always been. To know that no matter what mistakes you make, in the end, after whatever punishment, there will follow a hug, because love doesn’t depend on whether or not you were perfect. What an awesome way to grow up!! And oh, it was an awesome way. Unconditional love. That’s what I hope I have passed on to my children and grandchildren, and what I hope they too, will pass on to their children and grandchildren…because everybody needs a hug.

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