Grandma Says..

Observations and views from a different set of eyes

The Family With No Hugs

on February 8, 2013


My father never hugged me.  I don’t know why.

My dad was an orphan at a very young age.  His mother died giving birth to a daughter and his “Da”  died of Hodgkin’s disease when my father was ten years old.  He and his sister were taken in by his mother’s sister.   This aunt and her husband doted on my father’s sister, dressed her in new clothes and spent hours parading her around the parks.  They barely tolerated my dad, dressed him in hand-me-downs and he was sent off to play in the parks by himself.

Sad, lonely and miserable, my dad ran away from the this uncaring home in New Jersey and set off to walk to Connecticut, where he knew he had other aunts and uncles from his father’s side.  He prayed one would take him in.  He was picked up by police within miles of his destination; a phone call to the aunt was made and she told them to deliver him to my father’s brother, who lived in Black Rock, Connecticut.  His uncle Tom, took pity on him and gave him shelter.  His uncle had no trouble convincing the aunt that my dad was better off with him; she gave no objections, at all.

My dad would often talk of his life with his Uncle Tom.  Tom and his wife were childless so they adopted my dad a year later.  He talked about the love and the respect he had for his new family and the joys of being raised with many other doting aunts and uncles.  He talked little about his life before them.

My mother never hugged me.  I don’t know why.

My Mom was raised in a middle income family in Fairfield, Connecticut.  Her parents both worked hard to give my mom and her brother all they needed.  But, her parents had an unhappy marriage.  My Grandpop was a philanderer while my Nana suffered the humiliation and pain silently, they were Catholic and divorce was out of the question.  My mom was brought up in a house filled with anger, resentment, and cold silences.  My mom’s brother escaped into the Navy and my mom escaped into marriage as soon as she could.

My Mom and Dad met during the end of World War II, in a bar.  They had been dating but a few short months when my mom became pregnant with my oldest brother.  They married and went on to have four children; I was the third.

My father was an alcoholic, a funny lovable drunk, who showered my mom with presents when he came home from a long night of drinking.  He had trouble keeping a job, so my mother was usually the main breadwinner in our house. We didn’t have much growing up but we kids had each other.  But, my parents didn’t hug and we kids didn’t hug, and I don’t know why.

I’m getting older now and I look back at my childhood with a grownup eye.  I realize that being brought up in a house with no hugs was the reason that I now hug everyone I love.  My children would feel my love when I hugged them off to school or before they went to sleep.  I treasured those hugs.

I’m with a man now that isn’t afraid to hug.  We hug before one of us leaves the house and we hug when one returns.  I feel complete when my arms are wrapped around a friend, my man or my kids and their families.  I especially hug my granddaughter, and with each hug I tell her how much I love her.  I now give and get all the hugs I never got growing up.

But, I still feel sad that my family never hugged me.  And, I don’t know why.


21 responses to “The Family With No Hugs

  1. macdougalstreetbaby says:

    Even though my mother was incredibly affectionate, I always fantasized what it would be like to be hugged by my father, a man I never knew. Then one day, I saw my now husband (who was then a co-worker) hug a lady friend of his and I knew right away that I wanted to be hugged like that.

    We’ve broken chains, you and I. There still might be sadness, for something that was never there, but it dies with us. Our children will never know our sadness and that, new friend, is something to celebrate.

  2. Joel says:

    I’m glad you’re breaking the chain of no hugs! God bless you.

  3. Beautifully written.
    Maybe you will find something of an answer in this song…

  4. This story is truly sad. I don’t how it is to never get hugs, but I do know how it feels to be alone. I got hugs from my parents, I still do. But my dad is a drunk, and it hurts me and my mum. I hope he will once quit drinking and be my dad again, because according to his behavior now he’s just a stranger..
    Enough for me now, about you again! You made a great post, and I hope to read more of these quality posts again! Great Job, thumbs up!

    • Thank you so much for your kind words. I feel your pain, my father was an alcoholic and my mom enabled him. I hope he sees the error of his ways soon, before he loses his health or his loved one’s.

  5. cloverwill says:

    i love your writing! just hugged my little boy & was thinking of you!

  6. […] beautiful post by GrandmaSays this morning reminded me of times when I’ve been a “no-hugs” person.  I grew up […]

  7. TamrahJo says:

    Started to comment and realized, you might appreciate me blogging over in my own spot, instead of in your contents – -(will I ever learn the beauty of the short comment?)
    Beautiful piece and here’s my two cents….
    It’s not as bad as the title suggests…..

  8. TamrahJo says:

    Expanded Comment –
    “Your Post was a beautiful piece – –
    And here is where my two cents resides…”
    Should perhaps wake up more before hitting the “Post Comment” button…..:>)

    • Thank you so much. And you can comment anytime, anywhere! I always appreciate your feedback.

      • TamrahJo says:

        Wow – aren’t you generous with your cyber real estate! LOL – – If it takes me more that 3 paragraphs to comment, it’s obvious I need to write an article…..LOL Thank you, too, for reading mine and understanding where I was coming from – – Interesting that Hugs seemed on so many Word Press minds this a.m. – – Had 2 other related articles in my reader today….:>)

  9. dhutch729 says:

    something else we have in common! I wrote my blog about my father and then went to Reader to catch up and came across yours I love your blog

  10. Aurora says:

    I didn’t grow up in a very affectionate home either. My mom was the cold and distant one.Dad as a bit warmer but worked second and third shift most of my life so I rarely saw him except before school in the morning sometimes, or maybe on the weekend. Honestly I think I can even count on one hand the times I remember hearing my mom say she loved me, and I only remember once ever being hugged, and that was at my grandpa’s funeral.

    I guess I am the same as you in one more respect. I always have tried to go out of my way to hug my kids and let them know I love them, because I never wanted them to go through what I have. I don’t ever want them to have to wonder if I love them…I want them to know that I do, no matter what.

  11. neelkanth says:

    So touching a narrative.

  12. You courageously broke the family pattern. We often are unaware that one exists, so we bring it forward to our family, and they pass it to theirs. You are a brave woman to step out of what you’ve known and build something even better still.

    With love,

  13. Tanks for discussing HP Laser Airplane 1010 Vehicle driver, I really require it.

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