My mother is a hugger and has always been that way. While my personality resembles hers with the tender side of me, my outward persona is from my father. Daddy and I hug every time we see each other, don’t get me wrong. He takes no nonsense from anyone, especially his students. Daddy is a professor. Mama has been a stay-at-home (Ha!) mom for all of their marriage except for her stint as a preschool teacher a few years back. She’s really good with kids and makes them mind her. She gives them “the look,” and they get it together. Even kids who are running amok in a grocery store will stare at her with that “I know you caught me doing wrong, so I’m going to watch you” look. I get it too when I go out in a public place and see kids acting up. I am somewhere in the middle with a strictness for order, decorum, and compliance balanced with a dry sense of humor, a passion for cooking and baking, and a dramatic flair for costumes. I love my parents dearly, and I hug them every time I see them and tell them that I love them. They are the two individuals who shaped me into the teacher I am today.
My babies work their way into my heart and make me sad when the last day of school comes. I don’t start out hugging* them all of the time, but after what happened in Connecticut yesterday, I will hug them sooner than the last day of school this year. I have hugged kids for the gifts they’ve made or given, for them having a bad, terrible day after praying with them, and I have hugged them with pride over an accomplishment. I’d started out the year shaking hands at my door with everyone but abandoned that with the early flu season. I think I’ll devour some vitamin C over the weekend and ask if they want a handshake or hug to come in on Monday morning.
*When I hug my students, it’s the one-armed, side-by-side variety that can never be misconstrued in today’s twisted culture. When it’s my Mama and Daddy, I grab them and hug them all the way round and squeeze tight. I was raised right!