When I started teaching kindergarten, I was amazed at how affectionate my sprouts were. Some more than others, but it was rare to find a child who didn’t want to hug me at least some of the time. As that first year progressed and we learned more, the hugs just increased. One little guy, Sage, was a serious hugger. He literally was at my side grabbing me in some fashion most of the day. You might think this would annoy me, but he was such a sweet kid, it really didn’t.
Here’s what I wrote about him that first year…
I have a hugger in my class. I’ve heard about these rare creatures, spending their days doing little else but planning their next hug. Sage is a sweet little boy who has absolutely zero shame about wanting to give me hugs throughout the entire day. Part of what makes him so endearing is hugs are truly unselfish. It’s quite obvious he isn’t asking for a hug because he needs one, but only because he’s just overflowing with affection.
His hugs, when we have the time, are really GOOD hugs too. Many kids ask for a hug, and then give the equivalent of a dead fish handshake hug. This little guy sometimes asks me to kneel down so he can really wrap his arms around my neck and give me a good squeeze. One time he let me know he was squeezing me ‘like an orange.’
Today, after Sage arrived (and gave me my first hug), he looked right at me and stated, “I’m going to see how many hugs I can give you today.”
“That’s a pretty good challenge for yourself,” I said.
“Yeah, we both win,” he informed me as he went to put his things away.
After lunch, Sage came up, asked for a hug (we always ask first), hugged me and whispered, “Hey Mr. ______, I’m Mr. Hugger.”
If I had the time (I don’t), I’ve thought about trying to keep a tally of exactly how many hugs he gives me on a given day. After about an hour and three or four hugs, I usually lose count. I’d say, most days, Mr. Hugger averages about twenty to thirty hugs. Who says teachers don’t earn enough?
This year, Sage is in second grade. I don’t see him much and usually when I do, it’s passing a line in the hallway. He always smiles and often reaches his hand out for a high five. Last Friday, our last day before Spring Break, I saw him on the playground. It seemed every teacher had the same idea – Friday before vacation, it’s nice out, extra recess!
As his teacher called for his class to line up, he ran by me, stopping to say hello.
As we walked along chatting, he began to lean on me, and eventually, his arms wrapped around my waist.
I didn’t comment on his hug. He’s a big second (almsot third) grader now and I know how it is. His hug made my day though.
Don’t you just love when you reconnect with an old sprout?