I'm not a hugger. Or a kisser. Not actually affectionate, at all. The only exceptions being with my husband and children. I enjoy giving the boys hugs, kisses, tickles and squeezes, and am fortunate to have a husband who is very physically affectionate. Really, no complaints in that arena.
I just don't want anyone else touching me. Not because they're smelly or gross or anything like that. I just have a fairly large area of personal space, and I don't like to have it invaded. Especially by other peoples' arms and lips. Surely, it's a genetic thing.
My people don't hug. We greet with a "hello" and occasionally a handshake. We certainly don't put our lips on each other. We kiss our children for as many years as they'll allow it, but there seems to come a point at which that genetic squeamishness kicks in and our children no longer want to kiss their parents.
I think I last kissed a parent at around age 8. My mother had the nerve to complain about it when I was 12, and actually told me I couldn't leave the house with my friend until I gave her a kiss goodbye. After many tears, I did (under protest), but at that point I would have rather punched her.
Moono is almost 9, and he will still kiss me if I request it, but I can tell he finds it unpleasant, so I try not to push the issue. His hugs have become fake-y, too. He'll tolerate being hugged, but rarely will he squeeze in return. It's ok. I get it. He doesn't like people in his space, and he doesn't walk around smiling for no reason. It's genetics. You can't fight it.
So, I was surprised this weekend when we had a barbecue with my husband's co-worker. She and her fiance are lovely people, fun to hang out with, very friendly, warm and open. This is the second time we've barbecued with them, and the boys seem to feel very comfortable around them. But still, you can't fight genetics.
Imagine my surprise when the co-worker picked up Peanut and gave him a big squeeze, and he hugged her right back. To me, two barbecues is not nearly enough time to be at the "genuine" hugging stage. Apparently, my youngest feels that it is. But he's only five, and hasn't really reached the "hands-off" stage yet. But Moono, he's totally pre-pubescent, awkward, uncomfortable, etc. I figured there was no way she'd manage to pull off a "second-barbecue" hug with him. So it blew my mind when she wrapped her arms around his waist and scooped him up off the floor in a giant squeeze. And, long, gangly legs dangling barely a foot off the floor, Moono put his arms around her neck and squeezed her right back. WTF?
There's part of me that thinks it's really nice that maybe my sons will be warm, openly affectionate people like their father. Maybe they'll be able to kiss their in-laws without needing to wipe their mouths. Maybe they'll be able to give big, hearty greetings to people they just met. Maybe they haven't inherited my need for a wide circle of personal space.
And then there's part of me that thinks they only hugged her because she had a nice rack.