Parenting

Yes, You Have to Hug and Kiss Your Grandmother. Period.

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What I wouldn’t give to have my Gram back for just one day to put my arms around her again and tell her I love her and introduce her to my children. She had the softest skin I ever felt and rosy cheeks and twinkly eyes. And my Grammy (my mother’s mother) who was younger than my Gram and vivacious and beautiful would pull up to our house in her big car every summer and jump out, gold bracelets jangling, while we ran to be swept up in hugs and kisses which left hot pink lipstick marks on our faces. I can’t imagine ever complaining about her kisses. We couldn’t get enough! I still remember sitting on Grammy’s lap, head resting happily on her ample bosoms. I was in the best spot in the world. Even the dog loved that spot! We had to literally fight the dog to get that coveted seat. To this day, she’s one of my favorite people to hug and kiss and we are so grateful she is still with us. What’s wrong with parents today that they would deny their children the love of grandparents who are not child molesters? There is no reason on earth good enough to deny a loving grandparent a hug!

It’s very chic right now to pass around articles written by nearly hysterical women about teaching kids about their bodies and boundaries by letting them give Grandma the middle finger when she wants a hug because…rape. Seriously, there are columnists waxing nearly apoplectic if anyone suggests that their little darlings ought to be “forced” to give Grandma a hug, which is equated to non-consensual sex. What is this fresh hell and why am I the one who has to point out the absurdity of this new philosophy? Am I the only one left who sees this as madness? I’m not sure when mothers started equating grandparents with child molesters, but this is a ridiculous jump. (Unless one of your parents is a child molester, and I’m assuming you would know this by the time you had children and make damn sure your kids don’t have any contact with them at all.) But I’m not talking about those people. I’m talking about your dear parents who raised you, loved you, paid for your college, bailed you out of jail, let you live in their basement past 30 and simply would like some affection from their grandchildren in return. Those people. You know, the ones who never abused you a day in your life? These are the people we are talking about, not strangers off the street or even a creepy uncle, but your PARENTS.

If your children should ever come to you and whine, “Grandma kisses me too much and I don’t like the way she smells,” this is an excellent opportunity for you to get down on their level and look them in the eyeballs and explain to them that this wonderful woman who loves them more than ice cream and ponies will not be here with them for long. And one day, sooner than they think, they will be going to Grandma’s funeral and will never see her again to hug or kiss her. If they aren’t crying and running for Grandma’s over- perfumed arms after that, you’re doing it wrong.

Teaching children “good touch” versus “bad touch” is very important and I think we should put Grandma’s kisses firmly in the “good touch” category. There is an important lesson in hugging Grandma, even if you don’t want to, and it’s that learning that making other people happy is oftentimes more important than making yourself happy. That giving your Grandma affection when she desperately needs and deserves it is more important than your momentary discomfort (or aversion to Emeraude) and if you just choose to bestow affection happily you will most likely survive without any lasting PTSD. One day your child will have a spouse he gets tired of loving, too, and at that point he should remember that Mom taught him to love anyway, even when he doesn’t feel like it. Love is a choice, not a feeling (despite what Disney tells you).

Maybe we should teach our kids the difference between Grandma and an overeager frat boy. Just sayin’.

Watch out, parents, that your good intentions aren’t raising manipulative, spoiled brats who are more concerned about being comfortable at all times than with the feelings of others who should be important to them. This is a dangerous road that leads to collegiate safe spaces and adult temper tantrums when things don’t go their way.

For God’s sake, hug your grandmother!