Be a hugger, not a kisser

My family was never lovey dovey. I vaguely remember that we would hug and kiss our parents before going to bed. I never thought anything of it, it was just the way it was. It also meant that when we saw each other after returning from school breaks, vacations, or summer camp that our way of greeting each other upon arrival was to give a hug and a kiss. As I got older it started to feel a bit strange. Maybe not as much when I kissed my grandma, but definitely I thought about it when I hugged and kissed my dad. Somehow my sister and I just avoided it all together by not even hugging each other. Over time as my mom, dad, and grandma gradually died, there was no one left to hug and kiss hello or goodbye, so it was not something that I thought about much.

I recently read this blog: “Do you kiss your babies on the mouth? Or your parents?” It made me think about what we expect from kids. I am absolutely smitten with my nine month old niece and I want to love and dote on her, snuggle, and make her laugh, but I also want to be conscious of not making her feel like she has to do anything she does not want to do. I would rather her come to me and snuggle when she wants to, and yet that is hard for me. I have such a voracious strong love for her — so how do I hold myself back and let her come to me and yet still show her my extreme love?

It also makes me think about what I would do as a parent. I love the idea from the blog of how the dad decided to kiss on the head, and not on the lips. It allows kids to make their own choices and not feel like they have to kiss back. While I think at times that a hug is harmless, I also would never want to force my kids to hug anyone that they do not want to hug (See past blog: Consent: No means no). I have a hunch that my parents never even took the time to think about what was right, or what they felt was important. My hunch is that they replicated what happened for them during their childhood.

Yet, is it not a little strange to teach kids to kiss on the lips (unless they willingly decide to do so)? If you have kids, how have you thought about this? Hugs and kisses? Hugs only? Kisses on the head?

Please share!

Make your world alive

I have those days where I think, why do I still write this blog? Does random olio connect, inspire, or impact any of my readers? Maybe, or maybe not. It is sometimes hard to know, and often I feel I am in this vacuum, diligent to a pact I made for myself to write everyday. Whether or not my writing is stellar or not, when I started this blog almost 3 years ago, I never thought I would go this far or write this long. I will be driving, in a store, or in a meeting at work and an idea will pop into my head and when I finally have a moment to put my fingers on the keyboard the words just flow out, 90% of the time effortlessly.

Now, that does not mean I do not struggle with whether to actually publish a post, or even if it is worthy of the Publish button, but when I started I did it for the discipline, the community, and now I continue to do it because it keeps me sharp, aware, and always listening. When I came across this quote from Chris Guillebeau, I thought “so well said.”

“That’s the promise: you will live more curiously if you write. You will become a scientist, if not of the natural world than of whatever world you care about. More of that world will pop alive. You will see more when you look at it.

Writing needn’t be a formal enterprise to have this effect. You don’t have to write well. You don’t even have to “write,” exactly—you can just talk onto the page.”

Guillebeau is an author and avid traveler with three books out, one of which I have read “The Art of Non-Conformity: Set Your Own Rules, Live the Life You Want, and Change the World” and another which I am waiting for my turn at the library: “The Happiness of Pursuit: Finding the Quest That Will Bring Purpose to Your Life.”

Often I feel that I “just talk onto the page” — it depends on my life that day, where my head is at, and my inspiration. Regardless, it has kept me curious, hungry to read voracious amounts (books + articles), to explore other blogs, and other writing styles of all the things important to me. My world is definitely alive and full, and I see so much more. This does not mean that everyone has to write a blog, but I think writing in general often breaks out what is within, we learn more about ourselves, and often resolve things in our heart.

Voracious desire to learn…

What I remember most about my mom was that she loved children and that she was a teacher. From before I even went to school, there were kids and babies underfoot in our house. When I was really little until about second grade, my mom ran a day care in our house. I had a love/hate relationship with her job. I loved the constant and instant access to playdates and friends. I can still remember the names of the children and some of our many adventures on our back porch, quasi above ground pool, outside riding bikes, etc. Even the time when one of the boys proposed to me and gave me a ring, (yes I guess courting starts young doesn’t it?) What I hated – was that I had to share my toys, my bedroom (babies sleeping), and my mom when I came home from school at the end of the day.

A few years later she moved to her main love, teaching elementary school. Again, I had a love/hate relationship. When I was in second grade, she was the secondary teacher in the “other” second grade classroom. For anyone who knows what it was like to have your mom teach in your school, or be highly involved in your school, there were times when you loved that they were nearby, and other times when you were going through growing pains, teased, or gaining your own independence, that you wished you were dropped off at school only to see them at the end of the day.

Either way, we do not get to pick what our parents do for a living or how they are present (or not) in our life. We do eventually have the opportunity to look in hindsight and see what we learn, or how these experiences evolve us into the people we are today. I am grateful to have had those years with my mom, watching her extreme patience (I wish I was granted with such patience). She valued education and learning and even now thinking about it, she got her masters in teaching in her forties, not an easy feat with three growing kids and a job. Maybe that is why I have such a voracious desire to constantly learn new things.

I am not a teacher. I absolutely love children, but I do not think I would have the patience to spend my day in a classroom and then come home sane to my family. I admire, commend, and appreciate each and every individual that teaches in a classroom. You shape the world for so many little (and not so little) beings each and every day. Thank you, mom, for teaching me to solve problems, crave ideas, and to continuously try new things. Miss you.