Sitting somewhere near the top of the list of things I miss about living near family is frequent hugs.
I love Southern hospitality and the warm handshakes and respectful miss and mister titles, but there’s something so casual about family that eliminates all awkwardness from the hug.
I’ve concluded that the reason is because your close family were never strangers.
When you first meet someone, no matter how friendly, a hug always seems like a little much. No matter the amount of hospitality they show or you show, that first meeting usually ends with a shake of hands.
Since none of my family lives down here, I’ve been fortunate to find myself surrounded by friends who practically are family.
We’ve made friends here who I know would drop everything they’re doing at a moment’s notice if we were in need. They’re the kind of friends I would hug as if I’d known them all my life.
But since I haven’t, I don’t.
Sometimes we exchange that awkward, emotional hug when one of us is crying hysterically and we’re not sure what else to do.
Occasionally, when we return from a couple weeks apart, we’ll hug briefly, but it’s that weird hug where you have to announce “I’m going to hug you now” beforehand.
I think I’ve decided that if this is going to be my home, it’s time I broke the hug barrier.
The friends I consider family and who I know to be warm and hospitable and who I know love me the way I am, I have no reason not to hug them.
So I’m going to do it. If I call them friends like family, then it’s about time I stop being awkward and start treating them like family.
For a while, I thought people around here just didn’t hug.
After being proved wrong a few times recently, I’ve decided that a handshake isn’t good enough anymore.
Not for family.