Growing up with two family extremes was confusing.
Whenever I would visit my mom's side of the family, there was no hugging; no kisses, no "I love you"'s.
Whenever I would visit my dad's side of the family, there was endless, boundless affection.
As a child, I would feel both unloveable and loveable.
This difference was confusing for my little curly-haired self. I remember asking my mom at a young age, "Why doesn't Grandma/Grandpa hug me?" My mom would reply, "We didn't grow up like that."
Luckily, my parents both showed me much affection (and still do) growing up.
I would ask my dad the same question, only about his parents instead: "Why does Nonno/Nonna hug me so much?" My dad, smiling as usual, responded with, "Because they love you!"
I was taught from a young age that love should be shown--not just assumed, or heard. Love should be loud. Love should be freeing. Love should feel like your heart is relaxed in its excitement.
Both of my paternal grandparents are gone now. And it hurts, because they were the first two (outside of my parents) to teach me that I was loveable.
Oh so loveable.