Monday, December 8, 2014

Parenthood – Week 80: Hold My Hand

The first time I held Ollie’s hand, it wasn’t that special for me. Newborns instinctually clench their hands in tiny fists. Ollie did this so much that we would periodically pry his hands open to clean up the pieces of lint that would collect on the palms of his hand. The only way that I could get my finger in there was to work my finger into his teeny fist. While it was cute and like all newborns he had an impressive grip, those early handholding experiences never meant that much to me.

As Ollie started learning how to sit-up and crawl around, his hands relaxed and he would pull up on things around the house. Around this time, instead of lifting him out of the crib, I would invite him to grab my thumbs. I would count “1” and he would grab my left thumb with his right hand. On “2,” Ollie would reach up and grab my right thumb with his left hand and on “3” I would lift him out of the crib.  I loved doing this. It was cute to see him learn to understand what motion associated with each number and over time he began to smile in anticipation of being lifted up in the air on the count of “3.”

This was the extent of Ollie holding my hand through his crawling stage. Sometimes he would play with my hands when I was holding him, which was cute, but I still didn’t feel a strong feeling of emotion when he held my hand.

Ollie was what some people label as a “late walker.” This simply means is that Ollie didn’t immediately start walking when he turned a year old. In the process of learning how to walk independently he would grab reach up to me or Diana and once he got a hold of one of our hands or simply a finger he would pull himself and walk.  At first he needed two hands to make it a couple steps and eventually he was good with only one hand. Then on that magical day, he let go and walked on his own.

There was something very different about Ollie reaching up to grab my hand. It’s not like I was forcing him to hold my hand like I did when he was a newborn. He wanted a hand, specifically, my hand. Once he got a hold of my hand, it provided him balance and support. Later as he became more stable and it was clear that he actually didn’t need to hold my hand, he still would do so feeling a sense of security.

Now that Ollie can walk independently there are times that he doesn’t want to hold my hand. There are times when I grab his hand, and then sits down on the floor in protest realizing I’m trying to lead him in another direction. Then there are the moments when we are in sync and he holds my hand as we walk. Not because I’m making him, not because he needs me for balance, Ollie is holding my hand because he wants to. The feeling of his fingers wrapped around mine makes all of the responsibility, stress and fatigue of parenthood lift away and life is beautiful.

“All the king’s horse and all the king’s men, could not keep me from holding your hand.”

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