You don't have to tell me we are a weird family. I mean, when I asked Dante if I should decorate the house for Halloween, he looked around, and softly stated, "But mom, isn't the house already decorated for Halloween?" That was a proud moment for this old goth mom, and I'm sure that when people visit, they tend to think "Is something going to jump out at me and kill me?" or "Do I have to pay admission to this place?".
But in all the ways that we are weird, I never thought that we were strange when it came to affection, both giving and receiving. We're huggers and kissers and touchers and squeezers. Randy and I are very affectionate toward each other and toward the children. The kids are hugged and kissed at least 7 million times a day, give or take .5.
Apparently, this is not the "norm" in most families as evidenced today by sadly my poor son's humiliation. Twice.
We went to his school's book fair. As we were entering, Dante saw one of his classmates, a boy. Dante was so excited to see him, he ran up to him and gave him a big hug. The kid, first of all, didn't move a muscle, and acted as though a Dementor was flying in his face. Stone faced and even shocked looking, the kid barely managed a "hello" before his mom (who didn't even acknowledge me or my mom) started pulling him away as though Dante had the plague. Poor Dante didn't understand why 1. his friend didn't hug him back, and 2. why his friend acted scared. I brushed it off, chalking it up to shyness and asshattery (yes first graders can be asshats) and we went inside.
And then it happened again. Dante saw another classmate, a girl, and he again in his excitement of seeing her, hugged her. This time, the little girl FLINCHED like Dante was going to pull a Chris Brown on her and as she PUSHED Dante off her she said, "Don't ever hug me in public again". The look on my son's face was horrible. He was mortified. I wanted to dig a hole for him to jump into.
Her mother, visibly embarassed (thankfully so) made her come over to Dante and give him a high-five as a sort of apology and then explained that "she's not used to hugs". Um.......NOT USED TO HUGS? What planet am I living on when a first grader, no fuck it, when ANYONE is not used to hugs, let alone a little kid?
So sadly, I had to explain to Dante that not every family was like ours and from now on, when he saw a friend, to not run up and hug them and to just wave and say hello. If they wanted to hug, let them come to him first.
What a horrible conversation. I am so sorry I had to have it.
So next time, if you see Dante, give him a big hug.