I am the daughter of a seaman. I see my father carrying his duffel bag out the front door in my earliest memories. He picks me up and hugs me tight. I giggle and hug him back. When he puts me down and shuts the door, I am inconsolable. My mother is left to explain that he will return soon—before my birthday, after Christmas, probably sometime in January. My mother gives great hugs but they are not the same. January? January is months away.
My daughter left this afternoon to return for the last few weeks of the fall semester of her senior year. She is a good student who received an academic scholarship and will graduate with honors. I am proud of her and so happy that she has succeeded in this first phase of her life away from us, her parents.
After she packed the car with bottled water, clean clothes, laptop and books, she came back to say goodbye. I kissed her and held back the tears until the car turned the corner. I really don’t give hugs. It makes me feel uncomfortable, awkward and besides, I think she would feel the same if I embraced her.