Kissing Babies

My Mom is Italian and my Dad is Irish.

I am in the immigrant cycle of Americans where the immigrants were passing in the first 10 years of my life.

Those born in this country primarily identified with their country origin.

As a kid – When I was with my Dad’s side  – I was Irish.

When I was with my Mom’s side – I was Italian.

A cultural schizophrenic you might say.

Each side of the family embraced a specific set of rules of behavior.

Although the underpinning values of those rules were consistent, the expression of those rules were not the same.

I knew each side of the family loved me a great deal. However, one side was decidedly more demonstrative when it came to physical affection.

As a parent, I followed the side of the family that thought it wise to kiss babies until they cried and hold kids tightly in public until they grew physically strong enough to escape your grasp.

We’ve a new baby in the family.

I learned long ago that people in the west,

far from the Italian and Irish neighborhoods of my youth,

did not have the same frame of reference when it came to hugging and familial affection.

It was hard not to kiss the new baby until the poor thing couldn’t take it anymore.

I managed to control myself.

From a hot July day in the Arizona desert

I am sending you hopes that someone is loving you more than you can stand it.

 

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