I do not remember ever being hugged by my parents (or any of my relatives, for that matter); that would break with tradition and social/cultural practices. Mom told me once that words were words, gestures were gestures, and I should “just know” that everything my parents did was because they love us.
Mom made all her house dresses: A-line, gathered neckline, raglan sleeves. It was a simple and easy pattern she found years ago, and she stuck with it, never varying it except with the pattern of the fabric. I don’t think Mom ever saw a floral fabric she didn’t like; they were the one frivolous expression of her inner life.
I brought a bunch of her house dresses home. I am wearing one now, a green floral affair soft with age and wear, and immensely comfortable. Mom, who weighed 110 pounds, always thought she was a size 12, so she made her clothes with generous amounts of fabric. As I cut up some of her more beloved dresses to make the summer quilt, I see the thinning of the fabric where she sat, the small patch to repair a rip next to a seam, the little bit of adornment she allowed herself in the tiny pleats at the neckline. And when I hold the fabric to my face, I can still smell her, the particular mix of laundry detergent and the cupboard where she stored her everyday clothes.
The hugs I never had? I have them now. I know you loved me, Mom.