Family reunions just aren’t the same without little kids. As my family grows older (and as my generation fails to reproduce), there are fewer and fewer little kids around. The youngest cousin at this year’s family reunion is 9.
However, this year my aunt’s sister brought her son, a little 4-year-old named Alexander. He’s a little bundle of eloquent energy, and it’s been wonderful to have him around.
One of the defining moments of this family reunion came a few days ago when Alexander was hugging someone goodbye. He seemed to think that he was saying goodbye to everyone, so he was walking around doling out unexpected hugs.
I saw him walk over to one of my cousins, who was not paying attention, and he wrapped his arms around her and tucked his head into her shoulder. It took her a second to realize what was happening, and then her face melted into a huge smile and she returned the hug. It was clear that Alexander’s random hug was a huge gift to her.
I was on the receiving end of a hug from the little guy tonight–I saw it coming, but it was still great. I read somewhere that every human needs about 10 hugs a day to be emotionally whole, but I’d bet that one hug from an unscrupulous little kid would make up at least half that quota.