Friday, February 6, 2009

A Showing of Love

Growing up, my family was not very physically demonstrative of love. We’d give one another the odd hug now and then, and when the situation seemed to warrant such displays of affection. Times like when my mom, brother and I moved to Minnesota a year before my dad retired from the military. He lived away from us for an entire year, although he was able to visit us a few times. It was always hard to ride in the car knowing we were taking Dad to the airport to leave us for another long stretch. I remember trying in earnest to not cry, to not show how sad I was, because I didn’t want my dad to feel bad that he had to go. (I was in third grade, so what does that make me? Eight I guess.) All my efforts always proved fruitless and the tears would fall. I’d give Dad a long hug and brush a kiss against his scratchy cheek and hope that it would hold us through to the next time he could come to the home that he really hadn’t had the chance to live in yet.

With my family now -- my husband and three children -- we hug and kiss at least once daily. I hold my kids in a hug until they struggle away. I do not want to be the one who pulls away. My kids are young yet, and I can see on the horizon the time that they will deny me the hug and kiss that I crave from them. Just yesterday morning I asked my oldest child for a kiss as she was getting out of the car to go to school. She dismissed my request, shrugging out of the car. “I’ll blow you one Mom.”

And with that, the disengagement begins. My child will be less and less willing to acknowledge love in public. But I know she wants the hugs and kisses just as much as I do. At home, before we got in the car yesterday morning, I followed her to the car door where she usually rides and I stopped her. I gathered her into a hug and I could see her smile as she pulled away. “What did you do that for Mama?” she had asked me. “I wanted to hug you. I don’t get to do that often enough anymore,” I told her. I was both happy to have hugged my child and dismayed that she had to ask why I did so.

I’m going to make it my mission to get as many hugs and kisses in when no one is looking but the huggee and I. If I have to hide my affection for my family, so be it. But I want there to never be a question that I love them…all of them.

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chelle said...

My Dad was as single Dad so he was always hyper aware of outwards affection. I like you, am very affectionate with my kids. They grow up way too fast to miss a hug!

Dawn@Embracing the Ordinary Life said...

We didn't do a lot of that either...I ask for and give hugs and kisses several times a day...my son will ONLY do it in private...but I will grab him anyway if I feel the need.

MY dd is touchy...but she love it too...I too will do it as often and for as long as I can...

Kate said...

My household growing up was pretty touchy feely. And I'm just like that with my kids. It's all I can do to not kiss them and hug them all day long.

But your post was true and, yet sad. These days are dwindling with our little tykes when it's OK to show your love in public.

Guinevere Meadow said...

I DREAD the time when Kiddo won't want hugs and kisses anymore! At the moment, he's in a distinctive "I love Mommy" phase and I am just EATING IT UP. Every single bit of it.

Jeff said...

You know my experience with this matter, so I won't mention it here. But I will say it's looking mighty nice around here!

anymommy said...

This is something I need to concentrate on more. Loved the reminder.

Scribbit said...

We're always saying "I love you" and stuff like that. I was raised that way because my mom grew up in a house where love wasn't expressed. The kids go through phases where they hug and kiss more or less but deep down I think they like the affection.

Madeline said...

My family was pretty affectionate growing up--especially when we were little. I'm even more so with my little one. I dread the day he pushes me away or goes "Aw, mom, you're embarrassing me." Until then, I'm taking every hug I can get and stealing them when necessary!

kailani said...

I'll take all the hugs and kisses I can get from my girls while they're still willing to give them. It ends too quickly. :-)

MommyWizdom said...

What a beautiful post. I can imagine you at eight, trying so hard not to cry.

They may not always show it, but kids definitely love the attention! Keep it up!

Have a great weekend!

MommyWizdom

 
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