Holding Hands

Saturday, May 21, 2016

When my baby goes to sleep each night, he tightly grips my hand with his tiny hands and draws it closer to his body.  He seems to find comfort in the simple gesture of holding hands.  As he gripped my hand tonight, I thought about the importance of holding hands, especially with my children.

Since my other children are older now, the requirement to hold hands is no longer enforced.  Perhaps, this ideology is supposed to encourage independence.  However, when my daughter grabs my hand, while we are shopping, it feels somewhat awkward because she is no longer a toddler.  Yet, she enjoys holding my hand.

At the beginning of a new relationship, the newness tastes so refreshing.  Holding hands screams
mutual consent of affection. New couples hold hands often, even if it is uncomfortable or feels awkward.  The newness persuades the couples to hold hands in the car, in their church, at the fair, at the mall, in a line, at their parents' house, and etc. Yet, when the newness wears off, holding hands becomes a thing of the past.  The need to hold hands dwindles.

I cannot allow myself to settle into a complacent neglect of hand holding because it is so important.  Holding hands provides a sense of comfort and demonstrates the connection that exists, even if it is only a temporary one.

Every time that I visit home, my parents, siblings, niece, nephews, children, husband, and I hold hands to say a family prayer before our departure.  Most recently, I visited my aunt.  Before we departed, my aunt held hands with us and prayed for us.

The closeness that is created when holding hands is priceless.  This month, my parents celebrate their 40th wedding anniversary.  After all these years, my parents still hold hands.  Their example of affection proves that holding hands can be a great habit for a relationship.

During the separation and after my divorce, I spent so much time alone in my apartment.  The times, when my children were with my ex, were often the loneliest times.  Since I wasn't in a committed relationship, affection was only demonstrated by my children, who love to share hugs.  Sometimes, their affection was not enough. I craved affection from an adult.  I specifically remember the times when I would drive the three hours to my parents just for a hug.  They never scolded me for the turnaround trips.  They always opened their arms wide and shown me the affection that I needed at the time.  Sometimes, my parents would hold my hand, while providing encouragement.  Those simple gestures would offer me the affection that I needed.

So many people are living alone.  They do not have family.  They do not have children.  They do not have siblings. They do not have grandchildren.  They do not have a significant other.  A simple act of holding someone's hand can confirm life and deliver a breath of fresh air.

When my grandmother required the assistance of a nursing home, I communicated with her by holding hands.  I still remember how her hands felt when I would touch her.  She communicated with her eyes and by holding my hand.  Seeing my grandmother in the nursing home always cut like a knife.  I looked forward to our visits, which consisted of my parents taking her out the nursing home for the weekend.  Returning her to her room was always so sad and bittersweet.  When I would leave, I would hold her hand and kiss her on the forehead.  We always held hands and said a prayer before we left.  I was careful to keep the water building in my eyes without releasing any tears, until I was walking down the long hallway to our van.  Sometimes, when I look at my mom's hands, I am reminded of my grandmother's hands.  Their hands are actually identical.

Tonight, my baby reminded me of the meaning of holding hands with someone.  He feels safe and comfortable when he is holding my hand.  Even though my other children are older, I am going to make a more conscious effort to help them understand the significance of holding hands.  I have fond memories of holding hands with my parents and grandmother.  I would like for them to create special memories, as well.  Even though one-on-one interaction with my husband is interrupted by life, I am going to make the effort to hold his hand more, too.  I remember the times when we would just sit and talk, while holding hands.  Those times were so special. 

The belief that people do not appreciate simplicity, in my opinion, is fabricated.  Holding hands costs nothing.  The simple act of holding a person's hand might just save a life.

We live in a mysophobic world.  No one wants to touch anyone else without a fear of germs and/or diseases.  My suggestion is to keep a bottle of hand sanitizer handy, but do not neglect the physical contact created from holding hands.

My last visit to my grandmother included holding her hands and kissing her goodbye.  Needless to say, that last interaction would prove to be the most memorable because soon after, she was gone.  I still remember it, as if it was yesterday. She has been deceased for years.

Holding hands creates so many benefits for the individuals, who are involved in the physical contact.  My grandmother could not speak, but holding her hands communicated "I love you." My baby finds comfort in holding my hand to go to sleep.  My children confirm their love by holding my hand.  My husband and I demonstrate our connection by holding hands.  My parents have been holding hands over forty years because they were college sweethearts.

Think about the last time you held hands.  Who was the person?  Why did you hold hands? Share your story in the comments. What is your fondest memory of holding hands?

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*All images were obtained from a Google search.  These are not my images.

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  1. This is an absolutely beautiful post! I am a volunteer victim advocate and when speaking with a victim at their most vulnerable moment, holding their hand can show more support than words can ever provide.

    Also, I borrowed the first picture you used in your post for my blog hillbillyfeminist.blogspot.com. Thank you for such a beautiful read!