We’re walking through the parking lot. I reach out to grab her hand. She reaches right back and holds on. Effortlessly. Without thinking.
And I don’t have much time.
I know it’s coming – the day my kids won’t hold my hand. The thought makes me physically ill. I’m OK with almost every other stage passing. The diapers, the first tooth, the crawling, first words, first steps, the first day of kindergarten, and the passing of time. I really am OK with it all. I love the present. The here and now. I know how hard I’ve worked to get here – to get to this stage – and I honestly would not step back in time (except for when time is walking all over my face, then, yes, I would say it can step off for a bit).
But the hand holding. No, I literally can’t let it go.
I can see it happening already with my eight-year-old son. He’s reluctant. He’s too “big” to hold my hand in a parking lot – or anywhere else – and I certainly would never want to embarrass him. Yea, I know he’s not going to run out and get hit by a car, but I’m used to keeping up with lots of moving parts. Holding hands is a big deal to me. It’s a means of keeping us together, keeping us safe. The first thing I shout before we step off a curb is “Hold hands!!!”
But he doesn’t reach for me anymore.
She does. Even though she’s the oldest. She still holds my hand. But for how long? I’ve got, what, one maybe two years tops? The ticking of the clock pulsates in my brain, and every time her hands reaches for mine, I want to freeze time. I know that with three boys and only one girl, my days of holding hands are extremely short.
Moms go from carrying babies to wrestling toddlers to – finally – peacefully holding the hand of a child. Then all of a sudden, it’s just not cool to hold hands with Mom. It goes away as quickly as it came.
Once our kids are too big to hold hands, where does that leave us? What do a mom’s hands do besides cook, clean, scrub, wipe, and hold? I don’t know about you, but I’d take one hold over a million cooks, cleans, scrubs, or wipes. But, I’m quickly realizing my days of the latter are far longer – my mom is still cooking, cleaning, scrubbing, and wiping, and I can’t remember the last time I held her hand.
Yes, I know there is (almost) always a husband’s hand to hold. Or maybe a friend’s hand. But holding a child’s hand is the most unconditional. The one with the least strings attached. The shortest-lived.
I wonder if I’ll always remember reaching my hand back as I cross the parking lot; I wonder if I’ll always remember the feeling of the small weight of a little hand pressing into mine; and, I wonder if my kids will ever remember the feeling of reaching up to hold on to my hand tightly.
Now I am crying at my desk at work! It really is the best feeling, a tiny hand in yours. This is one of your best yet Cheryl.
Ugh – tears!!! Beautifully put Cheryl
I’m wiping away tears and trying to type. I will treasure Grace’s hand in mine as long as it lasts. Perhaps Hale’s will reach out for years to come. Babies do grow up too fast, but every age has it treasures. Thank you for making me thankful for every moment.
I’m wiping away tears as I’m trying to type. I will treasure Grace’s hand in mine for as long as it lasts. Perhaps Hale’s will reach for mine for many years to come. Babies do grow up too fast, but every age has its treasures.
Thank you for making me mindful enjoying every moment.
When my kids don’t reach for my hand automatically anymore, I will be crushed. Even worse, I curse the day that I reach out and my arm gets swatted away or ignored. I.can’t.take.the.sadness. I want to hold those sweet hands forever. This slays me.
I am crying too Cheryl! Maybe I am just emotional since my oldest is turning 10 tomorrow…it goes by too quickly! Love, love, love this post!!
Last night I picked up my 10 year old daughter from dance class. As we left the building I reached out for her hand and she quickly grabbed it. Maybe because it was dark, maybe because she was surprised and caught off guard, maybe because she knew nobody was looking or maybe because she knows that soon she will not reach back? I didn’t think about it until reading this post. After reading this post, I quickly realized I couldn’t even remember the last time I held my 12 year old daughter’s hand. Two years, three years??? I have no idea and almost no recollection except when she was a baby learning to walk. Even though I know I held it thousands of times I couldn’t remember the last time. It was heartbreaking to think about. The only thing that made me feel better is knowing that she still gives me a quick hug, a kiss on the check and says “I love you” every day when I drop her off at morning car pool – IN MIDDLE SCHOOL. Even when we are just a few feet away from peers, boys and teachers. I know this won’t last much longer so I just cherish it while it lasts. More difficult for me is realizing things like; there are no more miniature hangers in their closet, confusing my daughter’s shoes and work out shorts with my wifes’, not reading together at bedtime, being asked questions that are generally curious and age appropriate but just feel way too mature or inappropriate, knowing she is in the house but only seeing her when she surfaces for school and meals, talking about registering for CPR, First Aide and Safe Baby Sitting classes at the Y instead of coaching her Y soccer team or hosting her Y princess b-day party. Those are the things that really make me sad. Go hug your children!
Oh Cheryl, you tapped my heart here! Those days are fleeting fast for me…
Thanks Cheryl. A great reminder today to slow down and see the blessings we have. Who knew this job was so hard??? I wish my Mom was here so I could hold her hand and tell her thank you. Great job, Cheryl.
What a great blog Cheryl. It is a wonderful reminder to us all to cherish every minute. Today my 7 years old climbed in my lap when I went to volunteer at her school. I loved it because I too know one day this won’t happen. Thank you again for sharing this sweet story with us.
This touched my heart, Cheryl. You know how many years it’s been for me, but I still cherish the memories of that little hand in mine.
This pulls on my heart a little…no actually a lot! What sweet parenting moments we need to stop and take time to cherish in this crazy busy thing we call life! Great blog!