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I’ve never understood the whole, “Kiss your auntie goodbye”. Look, I know the kid loves me, but I also can tell that they don't want to kiss me goodbye. And it's okay. I don’t need the validation before I leave. Who wants forced kisses? On top of the fact that it’s faux love, there’s the awkward moment when the child—with whom I either have a loving repore with and just had a lovely time with, or don't know very well—doesn’t want to do this thing that is asked of them, and I'm standing there feeling like an ass waiting to see if the kid will do as commanded. For me, who didn’t grow up with these types of hopes and expectations (you know, common courtesy), it sort of diminishes the amazing time we just had and leaves it on a sour note. My fear is that instead of the intended lesson of acknowledging a person coming and going, what will be instilled in the child is: “Great, there’s that lady I have to kiss.”

I think it’s a strange tradition. I’m not heading off to war. I’ll see the child again. They can kiss me if and when they want. In fact, it would mean so much more to me if it was done on the child’s own volition. Granted, as my friend Erin likes to say: I was raised by devil's and wolves. The only verbal lesson I remember from my mother was not to litter.

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