For some time now I've been giving each boy at bedtime what I call, The Long Hug. I'm not sure when it started, but I know why it did.
I was usually doing dishes or working on the computer at bedtime while The Preacher would put the kids to bed, and I found myself giving quick kisses and only semi-present acknowledgements goodnight. Usually, I would often say, "Just go to bed...!"
But then, later, after the house was quiet, I'd look back on the day and regret not giving more hugs, not offering more kisses, not saying more "I love yous," not lingering longer at bedtime, to close out the day.
So, now...we have The Long Hug. They've come to expect it, wait for it, soak it up. It's the hug that lasts a good 30 count...and sometimes a minute or two. It's the hug that pushes past the rushing around, and long into the settling in. It's the hug that makes affection intentional, rather than incidental.
It's the hug that says: "You are worth my full attention."
Yes, bedtime takes more time and I have to stop what I'm doing for 5 Long Hugs...or sometimes 6.
But, then again, I'm stopping what I'm doing, and taking more time. And that's really what it's all about anyway.