May 17, 2012

The Importance of Holding Hands

The evolution of holding hands in my life is as follows. During elementary school I was under the impression of kooties and knew that the last thing on the planet I wanted to do was hold a boy's hand. In junior high there was no place for hand holding in my book because I was not the least bit interested. During high school I only held hands with boys for school dances.

As you can see it was all very minimal up to that point. Then, the summer before my senior year in high school, it was like open season on hand holding for me. That summer I had three relationships: one not so secret, though we thought it was, serious boyfriend-girlfriend relationship; one best friend turned dating boyfriend and reluctant girlfriend; and one kid who had a crush on me forever and ever, but was my kid brothers age and he didn't have an ice-cube's chance in the Sahara that things were going to change.

During that one summer I was exposed to secretly holding hands under a blanket even though everybody knew, outwardly and awkwardly holding a boy's sweaty hands even though I didn't have deep affections for him, and the boy crushing on me snatching my hand and holding it all through LOTR when I fell asleep next to him on the couch.

Looking back on these experiences I see those the mere excuse of hand holding. They were naive gestures and the actions of someone too young to really know what it meant to love and be loved. They were awkward moments and chances to show off to friends. Holding hands back then was a visceral expression that was mostly meant for others to see.

Lately I have been sitting in the back seat of our car an awful lot. I do this mainly because at any minute the laughing, happy baby back there can turn. The smiles change to sneers, the wide eyes turn to cry eyes, and the laughs become wails. It is painful to be sitting, helpless in the front seat when such an event occurs. So I am backseat ridden most of the time. Well, not today. Today I spent some time riding up front with my hubby. Guess what? We actually held hands. This has not happened in a long while and I did not realize how empty the spaces between my fingers had been feeling. Hand holding, the minutest expression of affection, was powerful in that moment.

I remembered the first time Superman and I held hands racing down the street in his roaring GTO. I remembered when he took my hand and asked me to marry him. I remembered holding hands in the temple when we got married and sealed for eternity. I had been missing his calluses against my palm. I hand been missing the way his thumb stroked absently over my own. I had been missing this simple hand holding ritual we once had.

Lately I have been realizing just how full my hands really are with a six month old. I hold balls, teethers, and rattles in my hands. I hold bottles, spoons, and mashed peas in my hands. I hold wipes, dirty diapers, Vaseline in my hands. I hold baby feet, baby cheeks, and baby fingers in my hands. Often I am holding more than one thing at any given time, juggling what I can to keep baby happy, safe, and healthy. I love this job. I love baby. I love juggling. But I have missed my hubby.

Sitting in the car today with baby in the back and daddy in the front I realized how it was important to take time and hold just one thing in my hand. To soak up that moment of simplicity and love. Hand holding is important even after five years of marriage and a baby. In fact, holding hands right now might be more important than it has ever been. In that moment, holding hands with my Superman, I knew it wasn't for show, it wasn't for claim, it wasn't even for secret. It was for real. It was for me. It was important.

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