The 2nd Grade Hug
“Daddy,” my oldest said, “it’s not fair that we can’t hug in car line.”
I put down my forkfull of spaghetti. “You want to hug in car line?”
Car line is the way I drop the kids off in school. The cars line up for a chance to drop their kids off at the appointed spot. We are not allowed to park the cars and let the kids walk over. Instead, we have to sit in our cars until it’s our turn.
“Yeah,” he said. “But we’re not allowed.”
I thought about that for a moment before answering. “I think we are allowed,” I said, finally, “but I just didn’t know you wanted to.”
“Okay, but we’ll have to hug quickly. There’s usually a line of people behind us. I can’t really get out of the car and walk around to your side to hug you as you leave. People’ll honk.”
He didn’t seem to have an answer for that. He pushed his pasta around his plate without looking at me.
“I kinda think of the secret handshake as our hug,” I said.
He shrugged. “I guess.”
The next morning as we waited in car line, I wondered what to do. Should I jump out of the car and run around to hug him? Or should I lean back between the seats and try to do it that way? I drive a Mini Cooper, so it really wouldn’t be much of a lean.
We pulled up to the spot, directly in front of where the rest of his class was sitting and waiting for the school day to start. I leaned over to open the passenger door, then turned back to them. He had his hand out, waiting for the secret handshake.
I was right there with him. Hugging is all well and good, but a secret handshake is better.