When

There is a post on Facebook. When did you last hug your dad?

There are many responses with dates being the day of or days before their fathers died. My dad died in January 1995. I didn’t hug him the day he died. He died suddenly of a heart attack.

I didn’t hug him the last time I saw him. To be honest I hadn’t hugged him in many many years. Searching my memory I can’t recall hugging him although I am pretty sure I did as a child. When I was little he took great delight in tickling me. We were touchy feely when I was a small child. However even before I became a teenager the distance had already begun.

Neither of my parents were huggy or kissy people. I have always felt that my dad had no idea how to be part of a family. He was sent off to boarding school when he was 7. His sister is 10 years younger than him. By the time he left school she was at boarding school herself. I don’t think I remember either of my parents telling us kids that they love us. I know that they did love us though.

Even now my mother doesn’t enjoy hugs. She doesn’t like being touched. There have been times in my adult life when I have given my mother a hug. It is awkward because it isn’t natural but there have been times when she has needed a hug even if she doesn’t realise it. Now that my family have grown up they and their partners give her a hug. She accepts those but they still don’t come naturally to her.

Growing up I would see how other families interacted. It made me sad not to have that with my family. When I had my own children I vowed to be different. Everyday I made sure that there were lots of kisses and cuddles. I told them every day that I love them. Unfortunately their father was somewhat like my father, not knowing how to show his love for his children. He would ask me to tell them that he loved them.

After we divorced I had a few relationships. I always asked the new man whether he hugged his children and told them he loved them. They all said yes.

My boys have all grown up to be affectionate young men. Two are now fathers themselves. I can see the difference between them and their father and mine.

My sister in law tells me that my brother is so affected by the lack of affection growing up that he also has difficulty showing affection to his children.

I have many friends who hug everyone, I’m not like that but over the years I have become more comfortable with giving hugs but I am selective over who gets a hug from me.

Hopefully my family will teach their children and eventually their grandchildren that affection is wonderful to have and give.

Do you come from an affectionate family or one like mine?