I can still remember those early first moments when my daughter’s small toddler sticky hand reached way up to hold my mommy steady hand reaching way down, and in the middle of that space filled with love, our hands met.
Walking hand-in-hand everywhere became our normal. We walked to the potty, to the bookshelf, to the car, upstairs and downstairs, and all over the zoo. As time passed, holding hands didn’t. We still walked together holding that space of love between us: two hands clasped together.
While driving home one night last week, my daughter (now only a month shy of thirteen), rather ceremoniously made her announcement: “Mom, I don’t want to hold hands with you anymore.”
I thought I was prepared for anything, but I wasn’t prepared for that.
As soon as we got through the front door, L bounded upstairs to her room, leaving me behind, grasping for something to hold.
Crying about it seems so selfish, really. Isn’t the fact that she’s growing into a beautiful and independent young woman, a return on investment to make any mother proud?
An hour later, my girl cautiously approached me as I chopped green onions for our supper. She hesitantly asked if I was okay. I deflected, making some self-deprecating remark in hopes of staving off the tears’ return. She talked right past my weak tactic and more specifically inquired if I was going to be okay not holding her hand anymore.
As I turned to face her, tears filled my eyes again. I assured her that while this is undeniably difficult for me, I would never rob her this next step she’s taking toward holding up herself, and wow – these sure are some strong green onions.
The following afternoon, again while driving, L quietly took my hand in hers and gave it a squeeze. That’s when I realized that nothing will ever displace the love between us; I just won’t have the sticky hand to prove it to you.