Today I watched my son run into school for the 1,000th time and every day I am reminded of how the cruel world will change who he is one day.
My heart often breaks as I watch how they speak to him. It's as if his feelings, thoughts, comments don't matter. He is non-existent in their world yet he would defend any of them if they needed him. If someone gets hurt, loses a game or seems upset he is the first one to ask if they are OK offering a hug or a pat on the shoulder. No, they are 11 and don't want his hug. They get offended and quickly snap "no". He is smiling and thinks he has done something so kind and he has. He is being empathetic, caring and aware but they don't want him to touch them. They may catch whatever it is they think is wrong with him.
When I notice him asking someone if they want a hug or standing too close to someone, I remind him that people don't want hugs. I try to get him to high five me so he is not made fun of but is that what I should be doing? It kills me to do it because I love his hugs. I have become one of the cruel people in the world who is forcing him to change. His mother! I do it because I want to help him but part of me wonders if I should just let him be. They are going to talk about him whether he does it or not. So maybe I will just accept the hugs and enjoy them while I can because it is inevitable, he will change.
He will find it necessary to conform to the world but if there were more people more open to affection maybe more people would smile at strangers. Maybe more people would accept others for who they were without judgement. Maybe more people would be happy.
My happiness starts with his hug in the morning and ends with his hug at the end of the night. So, from this day forward I will not stop his hugs. I will not speak for him. I will not alter his personality to make him more acceptable to the world. Maybe the world has to just become more acceptable to him.