Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Wonder

I wonder when my kids stopped hugging me and I wonder because today one of my work colleagues 8 month old granddaughter was in the office and kept giving me great big smiles and when I held her at one stage buried her head into my shoulder.

At some stage my sons – who are now 23 and 21 – stopped hugging me. When did that happen? Was it something I unconsciously discouraged? Was it because I stopped doing it to them first?

Our family have always been kissers. Whenever we saw family we kissed them hello and goodbye. I remember when I was about 12 or 13 my Grandad said to me “Son, you’re too old for that now. It’s time we started shaking hands.” And I never kissed him or my other Grandfather or uncles again.

I don’t remember when I stopped doing the same to my own Dad but it was probably around the same age. I can remember the last time I hugged him and that was at his 70th birthday in 1998, but if you asked me the time before that I would have to say that I can’t remember.

I have been hypnotized a couple of times in the past year or so and one of the revelations surprised me. I went back to a time when I was around 4 years old and I was in bed at night calling out to Dad to ask him for a drink of water. Dad was an alcoholic and would often come home drunk and inevitably when he walked in the door at night there would be a verbal altercation with my Mum. I used to lie awake and wait for him to come in and when I heard him I would call out for a drink of water. It was only under hypnosis that I realized I wasn’t calling out because I was thirsty but because I knew when I saw him that he was safe and I could go to sleep.

He would come down to my bedroom, give me a drink, say good night and then disappear until I woke up the next day and saw him sober and spruced up ready for work again. I don’t remember when he stopped kissing me goodnight just as I don’t remember when I stopped kissing my own sons goodnight.

I have never been overtly affectionate, but I still get a kiss from my daughters and an occasional hug but I didn’t realize how much that meant to me until the last year when I haven’t seen them every day. I do miss that day to day contact.

15 comments:

Rhea said...

I read a very good book called "Wrestling with Love" by Sam Osherson. It's about how damaging it is when people tell boys something like what you were told: OK, no more affection. You're too old for that. It's up to us and the younger generations to stop that. Thanks for bringing up this important subject.

Josie Two Shoes said...

Have been reading around a bit in your blogs, and will definitely be back for more Loz, lots of thoughtful well written stuff here that I can relate to. Thanks for stopping by my place too.

My Dad didn't learn to say "I Love You" until after my Mom died. I'm so glad he finally did, every parent and child (grown or young) needs to hear that!

Finn said...

One of things that I really liked about my husband when we were first dating was that he still hugged his dad. It touched me.

I don't know why we do this to boys; girls have it much easier. I think it needs to change, and I'll be sure it starts with my own son.

Random Magus said...

I agree with Finn, girls have it much easier there are no social norms that say 'you're too old to do this or that'.
But sometimes what we are feeling might be mirrored in what someone else is feeling...it's only when we make the first move are we able to break through the barriers...

Jeff said...

It puts me in the mind of the time my uncle traveled two hours to pick me up and took me to my dad's grave another couple of hours away. I never get to see my uncle so this was a two-bird endeavor.

We picked weeds and placed flowers at my dad's grave along with my grandparents and my aunt and uncle's graves. When he dropped me off at home, I gave my uncle a hug.

I will never forget what he said. He said, "I usually don't hug guys, but I guess it is okay this time." It kind of made me feel a bit weird.

Loz said...

It's only when you start to reflect on those childhood memories that you begin to understand the power of words and how they can impact upon you in later life. I had a series of impositions placed on me which included that one from my Grandfather that made me what I am today and which have caused problems for me in my relationships.

paisley said...

its so sad that in the teen years, or there abouts, it becomes so uncool to hug and kiss your parents,,, and then later in life,, you would give anything to have their arms around you.......

Lisa said...

This is also a good reminder in the opposite direction -- I should never be too busy to hug my son; who knows when it won't be "cool" anymore...?

Vancouver mermaid/Montreal photographer said...

Hmmm...I have a son who is 7 and a daughter who is 5. My daughter loves to kiss and hug me. My son would be fine if we never touched.

I wonder how much of it is actually taught and how much of it is just inbred in them? Boys just don't seem to crave the touching as much as girls do.

Lately, we've resorted to Hi-Fives. Still touching, but in a very non-girly way . LOL

Loz said...

There are of course the Mars and Venus differences and there are biological imperatives as reasons for why they exist. But I think we do tend to overburden boys with the responsibility of growing up to soon. At least I think that is part of at happened to me. Maybe I would have come to the conclusion to stop kissing my Grandfathers in my own good time anyway, but would it have been so bad if I didn't? I think not.

Josie Two Shoes said...

I think not too, Loz. :-)

Jeremy Jacobs said...

50, Midlife?

starts at 57 my friend

Spot said...

Hi Loz I came across your blog from Josie's. I have a twenty four year old son, we now live in different states here in the US. Every time we see each other I give him a hug and kiss. Same with my 21 year old daughter, who also lives in the same state as my son, I miss them quite a bit, and make sure they know how much I love them every chance I get. I had a terrible relationship with my father the last twenty years and don't ever want that to happen with my children. My father and I recently reconciled and are now working on building a new relationship. I have found that relationships take work and maintenace like anything else. Just wish I had learned this a little earlier.

Spot

Loz said...

Mermaid, Spot, Jeremy and Josie, thanks for visiting and commenting.

M said...

My family wasn't big on hugs or kisses. It is only in adulthood when I realized that when my friends and their children always greet me with a kiss and a hug, how much I have missed that throughout my life.

I have decided to make up for lost time and hug and kiss people every chance I get.