Members of a Texas church made quite a splash at the Austin Pride parade after they went around offering free “mom hugs” to any parade-goers who needed one. We all know just how satisfying and powerful a good mom hug can be, and the church made it a point to give them out to those who maybe don’t have the best relationship with their parents.
Jen Hatmaker, a mom and blogger who helped give out hugs, shared the heartfelt images from the parade on her Instagram account. She explained how the church showed up ready to offer everything from “Free Mom Hugs, Free Dad Hugs, Free Grana Hugs, and Free Pastor Hugs like it was our paying job.”
Jen and other members of the Austin New Church were inspired by the Free Mom Hugs movement created by Sara Cunningham. Church members showed up ready to spread the love with their warm embrace. “And when I say hugs,” Jen explained, “I mean THE KIND A MAMA GIVES HER BELOVED KID.”
“Our arms were never empty,” she wrote. “We ‘happy hugged’ a ton of folks, but dozens of times, I’d spot someone in the parade look our way, squint at our shirts and posters, and RACE into our arms.” Apparently, there were a lot of folks in attendance who really, REALLY needed a good mom hug.
Among the comments that she and other members received were things like, “‘I miss this,’ ‘My mom doesn’t love me anymore,’ and ‘Please just one more hug.'”
If that doesn’t give you the warm fuzzies inside (while also breaking your heart a little), I don’t know what will. As someone who hasn’t been able to go back home and give my mom a good hug in a few years, I can definitely relate to how strong the craving for a good mom hug – the kind that gives off pure, unconditional love – can be.
Strained relationships with unaccepting parents are sadly all too common within the LGBTQ community. Jen and her fellow church members made sure to let every single person they hugged know that they were “impossibly loved and needed and precious.” It’s the kind of simple, free act of kindness that can make all the difference in someone’s day.
“We hugged until our arms fell off. This is what we are doing here, what we are here for,” she wrote. “The last pic is what you look like at the end of Pride covered in glitter, sweat, and more than a few tears.”