Sometimes a picture just grabs you. This one did me. I think it was the look of sheer joy. Nothing posed or planned, just a big old happy hug.
Allow me to introduce the huggers. My favorite (only) grand daughter, Rylie, is facing the camera; her friend, Meredith, has her arm extended with the sign. The smile is real, Rylie’s mom is a photographer so she knows how to smile for the camera but she can’t fake that smile, it is from deep inside, one I haven’t seen in a long time. It may have been raining but not on their little parade.
The hug is probably the world standard for conveying feelings. Those hugs range from the casual, just a little more personal than a handshake, to on rare occasion the extreme as you see in the picture. They are popular at family gatherings; I think some of the old aunts have a competition to see who can hug the most people. Sharyl’s family had a lot of huggers.
I think we all face those times when we need to offer words of sympathy or compassionate support and the right words just aren’t there or they hang on the lump in your throat; a simple heartfelt hug is an excellent alternative.
What should have been Rylie’s fun years, her high school days were filled with way too many of those kinds of hugs. The hugs were many the smile was usually there but it was forced, it wasn’t the smile I see in the picture.
Her faith, toughness and a group of dear and loyal friends, yes Meredith was there for the hugs of sympathy and compassion, have helped her arrive at the next phase of her life.
She is a new student at the University of Oklahoma. The picture was taken at the end of Rush week as she joined her new Sorority sisters for the first time. Meredith is one of those sisters.
That was taken yesterday. The feet were back on the ground this morning as she continued to get settled in the dorm, get class schedules and the other hundred things college freshmen need to do.
Rylie is a lot of things; naïve isn’t one of them. She knows the road will still have bumps but she is excited and anxious to see what’s around the next bend. She and I are confident she can handle whatever is around that bend.
I have seen a lot of hugs in my life. I have participated in some and have even initiated a few. I don’t remember the second best hug I have ever seen but the one pictured stands alone as my all time favorite.
Love you Ry, I’m very proud to be the guy you call PawPaw.
Please say a prayer for me for obvious reasons and remember Rylie as she starts the next chapter.
Good Night and God Bless.