Hi! <Waves>

Funny and honest tales from a made-to-work Dad of three, wobbling, graying, and laughing his way through parenthood. Armed to the teeth with Nerf guns, full of pie, fighting a chocolate addiction, but genuinely honoured to be at least half of Team Parents (yay!).

12 October 2016

Can You Hug Me So My Friends Can't See?

Sorry Boy9. But I am going to be that Dad. A huggy Dad.
A Dad that wants a hug goodbye every single time we part.
FOREVER!!! <Does one arm out dramatic pose> <Cackles>

Unless I'm chanked at him.
Then there may not be hugs. I see no point in pretending for a hug. Fake hugs are bad.
Sometimes you may get a friendly tap on the arm. A hair ruffle which you hate. A high five. Maybe even a 'fun' full-blown rugby tackle to the floor.
But most of the time you're getting a hug.

(Does your school often flood like this?
Boy9: ‘Only from August to May…’)

It was my third drop off with Boy9 this term.
We were sat in the car rocking out. When he indicated he had something say...

[Blaring music]
Boy9: 'DAD!'
<Is singing too loudly to hear>
WHAT? <Head banging still going>
Boy9: 'DAD CAN YOU...'
<Turns music down>
Boy9: '... TURN THE MUSIC DOWN...'
Dude! Why you shouting? … I'm right here...
Boy9: 'Can I ask you something?'
Yes, sure.
<Mutters> The cold never bothered me anyway...

He wanted to ask me something.
He wanted to ask me if I could hug him so his friends couldn't see.

Boy9: 'Can you hug me so my friends can't see?'

See. Just like that.
Boy9 was asking me if he could receive his morning hug at school, so his friends couldn't see.
WHAT? WHY? WHY??? Doesn't my love mean nothing to you? The years of care...
I wasn't surprised.

(Hair wise this inaccurate… Otherwise spot on...)

This was drop off number three with me this term.
Drop off two Boy9 had ducked off without much of a hug.
And drop off one? Well I hugged in front of all his mates. Obv.
This had been building in Boy9's head for a few days.
I recognised this. Thank Bacon.
And so was able to talk him about it in a mature, grown up, manner.
Not in a defensive and hurt, used, cast aside, unappreciated like only a father knows, <Bottom lip wobbles>, way I may have felt about it.

Instead I had a bit of a think about it. Took my time.
<Turns music back up> ... YOU WANNA BUILD A SNOWMAAN?

It felt like an important moment.
A moment that would change things forever between me and Boy9. A defining moment.
I felt that if I said the wrong thing now, there would be no recovery options.
I could have just said 'Sure, no hugs, whatever!'. And that would be it.
We would both continue on in our lives. Physical contact slowly fading and dwindling.
Until finally the most we can muster is a quick handshake, at Christmas, with both of us having to wash our hands afterwards.
The British way.
But. I wasn't keen on that. I'm at my most drunk huggy at Christmas time.

So I didn't answer.
I thoughted instead. There was no way I would be endorsing no-hug-Dad.
And I knew that telling Boy9 he had to, by Dad rule, hug me, would go down badly.
So I very carefully asked him more about it...

(Boy9: ‘Er… Dad... The steering wheel!’
<Sounds of horns>)

<Turns down music>
Why do you want to hurt me?
Why does it matter if I hug you?
Boy9: 'It's embarrassing...'
Duuuude... You better get used to that <Gestures to self>
To you? Or did someone else say something?
Boy9:' Someone said 'Is that your Dad you were hugging'?'
NAME THEM. They are done...
<Turns back up music>

I did more thinking before speaking.
(Which frankly is something I should do in more facets of my life) (Yes facets, I have them...).

<Pauses music as this song rocks>
Why does it matter what others think about you and me hugging?
Do you think they are definately maybe jealous. Maybe no one hugs them?
Shall I hug them too? ALL OF THEM?
Boy9: 'S'pose'
<Resists urge to correct pronunciation>
You could just say 'Yeah. My Dad loves me, what of it scrud smeg alternative face?
Boy9: 'Huh' <Is thoughtful>
<Unpauses music>
<Both singalong heartily>

I think I did well then.
I gave Boy9 something to think about at least.
I really hate it when Boy9 bends to the norm because of his friends.
I am unsure why it irritates me so much. I know he just wants to fit in. That's totally normal.
And if he had said HE didn't want a hug. Then I like to think I would have honoured his wish. No chance.
But to stop hugging my son because of some little smegger teasing him.
No. That doesn't feel right at all.

And yeah Boy9 is growing up.
I can't seem to stop him. But why does that mean he needs to stop hugging his Dad?
It doesn't. Growing up does not mean you have to stop hugging your parents.
I s'pose it could mean it might need to change <Kicks stone> as he grows <Chips paint work on car> <Runs Stays and leaves insurance details>
But it definitely isn't something that has to happen.
Stupid un-huggy society norms and millennias of history.

When we got near Boy9's classroom.
He stopped early. Before we got into view of his mates and asked for his hug there and then.
I am guessing so his mates didn't see.
His eyes screamed a million words and feeling at me. I am not sure what they said.
I think he was offering me, yeah me, a compromise.
Boy9 was comfortable with a hug here and now. Not in front of his mates.
And Boy9’s face was screaming please Dad, accept it.

I couldn't refuse.
Tears streaming from my eyes Like the grown up man that I am I hugged the crap out of him.
There and then. Out of view of his mates.
Boy9 isn't comfortable with it and I should respect his wishes.
I'll still going to continue teaching him not to be a sheep.
And I am going to slowly convince him that a Dad hug is a brilliant thing. And nothing to be embarrassed about.
Which is plan A.

Plan B?
Plan B is to develop a handshake (that is sneakily a hug) so rocking, so awesome that he pleads with me to do it in front of his mates.
It could happen. <Knows it won't>
Then I won't miss my hug...

Right. You think you got it?
Boy9: 'Yeah Dad. This is going to be the best handshake ever!'
HELLS YEAH! Right go!
I go high. You low. Now duck LEFT
Boy9: <Ducks left>
Boy9: <Ducks right>
Bear attack!
<We hug>
<Me smugly>
NOW the finale... Duck MIDDLE, NO LEFT!
Boy9: <There is 'contact'>
<Looks down at Boy9> Sorry dude...
Boy9: <No response>
<Miss5 appears and lays a blanket over Boy9's foot>