Holding Hands, Holding Hearts

When’s the last time you held someone’s hand? If you’re a mom, I would bet you do so on a daily basis. Walking in a parking lot, crossing the street, or simply leading your child to their bedroom or the bathroom sink, you’ve probably taken their hand. But when did you last think about holding that precious little hand in yours?
Holding your child’s hand tells them so many things. It tells them they are safe, protected, watched over, guided, and loved. I’ve noticed my kids hold my hand differently when they want different things from me.
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The one-finger grasp: When your child holds one of your fingers, they are probably exploring and taking you along for the ride. They are leading you where they want you to go, and they expect and know you will follow. My little two-year-old just did this hand hold this morning as we followed a nature trail down a ravine in a local park. She loved looking all around but wasn’t quite ready, or steady enough, to go it alone. So she grabbed my finger, and off we went.
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The two finger hold: When your child grabs two of your fingers, they are probably a little less sure of where they are going, wanting more guidance. They want you to lead because the situation is new or different. When we were going up to meet the characters in Disneyland, my two-year-old would always grab two of my fingers and hang on tight until I picked her up. After a few, she didn’t need to anymore.
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The entire hand enclosure: This one is for times when you want to protect and safeguard your child. I find myself using this when in a parking lot or crossing the street. You get the best control, the best grip on the situation. I use this hold to steer my little ones, to help them along their way. The feeling of a little thumb enclosed in my palm is one I treasure, I seek out. And when danger is near, is grasp a little more tightly, hold a little more firmly, to make sure my little one doesn’t go astray.
I am blessed enough to have three kids who will still hold my hand. (My nine-year-old only occasionally.) My oldest son won’t anymore, and I miss it. No, he doesn’t need my help crossing the street; he’s been doing that for years. He doesn’t want to lead me around anymore either. But, he still wants the guidance hand holding brings, just in different ways. And he still wants to show me what he’s interested in. I metaphorically hold his hand now whenever I give him advice, show interest in his latest invention idea or listen to exactly why he loves the book he’s reading.
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It really is true what they say, a mother holds her child’s hand for a while and their heart forever. And, whenever I hold my child’s hand, they are embracing my heart in their chubby little fingers.

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