As we pulled up to his mom’s house for our first Thanksgiving as a couple he dropped a bomb on me:
“I should warn you. We are a family of huggers.”
I just rolled my eyes.
“No, really, Kate. We hug hello AND goodbye. My mom will hug you. My sister and brother will hug you. My grandparents will hug you. Cousins and uncles and aunts will hug you. Just be ready for it.”
My hands started to sweat.
I was already worrying about how to hug.
Were they “your arms over, mine under” huggers? Maybe “you go up left, down right, I’ll go up right, down left” huggers. Maybe they were one-arm huggers. Was there a cheek kiss involved? Was this a quick hug or a hard hug or a bear hug or a pat-pat hug? How did this work?
I was so unprepared.
People I was just meeting would be in my space…touching me.
Couldn’t we just shake hands? I was good at that. I have a great, firm handshake that shows I am likeable, yet confident. I can do hand shakes.
My family doesn’t hug.
I am not sure why. We are very close. My brothers punch my arms or cow bite my legs frequently, but we don’t really hug.
My dad likes to poke at me and pinch me and for as long as I can remember I am always yelling, “daaaaad! UGG! Get away!” And he just laughs and tells me it’s his job.
My mom isn’t a big hugger either. Oh, my Grandma used to hug our faces off, but my aunts and uncles and cousins just don’t throw the hugs around.
And my friends don’t do a lot of hugging.
My friends from high school are mostly dudes. Dudes don’t just hug.
My friends from college learned long ago that I am not the touchy-feely kind of friend and either force hugs on me, or give me my space.
It was about to be invaded as I met a bunch of people for the first time.
“Great. This should be interesting,” I tell Cort as we got out of the truck and headed for for the front door.
He chuckled. “Relax. Let it happen. Hugs are good.”
Yes. That first time was awkward.
And then meeting the other side of the family? Also huggers. Awkward.
There was a lot of awkward for awhile.
But recently? I realized that it’s not so awkward anymore.
I’m not going in for the “wrong” kind of hug.
In fact, the other day I found myself going in for the hug and not just hoping one didn’t find it’s way to me.
And it was nice.
Not a big deal.
I am glad because I can’t imagine Eddie telling someone, “my family just doesn’t hug.”
I’d rather he be warning people, “caution: my family will hug your face off.”
Ok, maybe not that much hugging.
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