Around 10 months ago, our youngest son, who also happens to be the last of our kids still attending school, started junior high. Over the course of this past school year, he also became a teenager.
When he started this year, I decided that I was going to do my best to send him off to school each morning with a hug as a little fatherly moral support to help get him through the day.
Now, we're not an overly huggy family. Besides my wife and I, of course. We're always hugging on each other. Oh, and when I've been drinking a bit, then I'm more than happy to hug on anyone who comes around. I'm talking about doling out the hugs when it comes to my sons.
I think I may have gotten that from my dad. I know he was fond of me and all, it's just he wasn't one to physically express himself like that to me. He was more the type to express his affection by taking me fishing with him. Or maybe get some quality bonding time in by going fencing together, that hot morning after I came home a little hung-over from partying a bit too heartily the night before. Things like that, just to let me know he was thinking of me. But not so much the hugging.
Anyways, as my sons got older and it occurred to me just how fast they were growing up, I've tried to add things here and there to let them know I had an interest in their lives. The morning hug thing I've tried to implement, is my latest attempt to achieve this end.
The thing you need to know here, and you can consider this the public service announcement portion of this post, is if you are going to one day out of the blue start hugging on your son, you really really need to start doing this before he becomes a teenager.
I suspect there's the possibility you could trick him into letting you hug him everyday. Maybe if you were to one time give him a hug out of the blue for scoring the winning goal, or after they've excelled phenomenally at some academic achievement, then milked that as an excuse to continue the hugs each day until it just becomes the thing you do? But something like the 1st day of grade 7 probably isn't going to be enough to fool him. Most likely, you're just going to end up with him looking at you with that mixture of fear and confusion as you stand there with your arms wide open, waiting for him to return your embrace.
Luckily, I have a lot of persistence.
So, everyday that I was able and in the house when my son left for school this year, I gave him an awkward hug before he left. Probably about 80% of the school days that he had. Maybe it was just that I wore him down or it might have been my imagination, but I thought toward the end of the year, he was actually waiting for me to come and hug him before he went out the door. It could have also been those 2 times I followed him out of the house and half way down the driveway in my pajamas to get my hug when he tried to sneak off without it.
..................Maybe having your dad standing at the bus stop in his pajamas with you, waiting for his hug is more embarrassing than just getting it over with in the house?