WARNING…This post has been about a week in the making. It’s going to be a little tough to put it in words. Get your Kleenex out, call me sappy and let me tell you about the day that my son let go of my hand….
First off, I should probably say that I wasn’t expecting him to hold my hand until he was 18 or something, but this was one of those days that we as parents dread. As we run this race of life with our children, I like to think that there are “Good Markers” and then there are those that we would rather went by without experiencing them. For example, first steps, first words…These would be good mile markers. First cast, first broken heart, first crush, these are the times that we don’t look forward to going through.
Maybe it’s just me, but as a father, is there any greater feeling than having your hand wrapped around that of a small child’s? There is something about reaching down and grabbing their hand as you cross a busy street, walk in large crowds, or just simply want them to know you are there. Each time, in the back of my mind, I think to myself, that there will come a time when they will be too big, too cool, or too far away to hold my hand. Such was the case last week with “the boy”. After successfully navigating a parking lot, and entering the church, he simply let go. Maybe it was nothing, or maybe it was the beginning of that time. In my mind, I had him driving off to college and calling once a month!!
It’s less about my hand and more about the fact that my first born is now the oldest. He is now carrying on full conversations and telling me about his day. Yesterday it was diapers, tomorrow it will be “Youths”. Why must it go so fast? Luckily, I have 2 other little people to still hold hands with. Ironically enough, after church, my middle girl ran ahead of mom and grabbed my hand. Maybe she knew I needed that. Maybe she wanted me to know that there will be more time, more hands and more memories.
The truth is that although my son’s little hand may be getting too big to hold, it is growing for a reason. It will be the hands that we will play catch in the front yard with. They will be the hands that will help me when my eyes get too bad and my hands don’t fit where they used to. They are the hands that will hold the handle bars for the first time alone. They will someday take the keys, hold college books and one day, take someone else’s hand.
While I am about 10 years ahead of myself, those with young ones can understand my plight. We can’t hold them forever, but I think in many ways, they will hold us that long. Even if it’s not my hand, they hold my thoughts, my dreams and my heart. That is one thing they will never let go of!