|Liberated Hugs and Kisses Blocks (Photo credit: Cut To Pieces)|
Whenever my grandmother used to send me cards or letters when I was a child, at the bottom she would add "xoxoxo". The first time I saw this I asked my mother what it meant. After she told me that the x's were kisses and the o's were hugs, I could see it. I could see the kisses and hugs.
I was so enthralled by this charming bit of messaging that I started adding it to my own letters and valentine cards. To me it was like a secret code that had been imparted to me by my grandmother. It was a while before I saw the x's and o's anywhere else--in a cartoon I think. Eventually I realized this was a widespread bit of symbolization that many used, but for me those letters always reminded me of my grandmother's message of love to me.
Other than in my first seven years of life I never saw my grandmother very often. We lived too far apart most of the time to allow for many visits. Even though I rarely was able to spend much time with her after my seventh year, she always remembered my birthdays. Every Christmas I would eagerly await my grandmother's holiday package of homemade candies and sweets which was loaded with lots of sugar and spice and hugs and kisses. Though far away geographically, she was always near in my thoughts.
My grandmother died when I was thirty-seven. I was able to see her several times after I became an adult and often traveled to where she lived. One of the best weeks of my life was right after my first year of college when I decided to embark on my own odyssey.
My grandparents house was one of the stops on my journey. Each morning my grandmother would fix breakfast and sit with me while I ate. Later my grandfather, who had already started his rounds around town before I had woken up, would come back to pick me up so he could show off his grandson to the folks he knew. The idyllic afternoons were spent reading books from their home library or just sitting on the porch with my grandparents. Such a fine summer week it was!
It's now been twenty-five years since the passing of my grandmother. She was a fine lady. I still hear in my mind the melodic strains of her voice. The smell of bacon takes me back to those mornings when she'd fix me breakfast. And when I think of xoxoxo, my grandmother is the first person who comes to my mind.
Now I'm a grandparent with grandchildren whom I love dearly. I'll have to teach them about xoxoxox.
Do you ever sign off letters with x's and o's? Were you able to have a relationship with your grandparents? What traditions are you passing on to your children or grandchildren?