Perhaps it happened at the skating rink where he couldn’t be sure if his sudden moves forward would cause crashes or glides; perhaps it felt like a supportive glove to him, one that would fit and frame his grasp so that he understood the odds of his falling had been greatly reduced. Just a slip into my grip, a stubborn pull-back waiting for me to rein in the slack. Oh Christopher, that determined little hand; I can still feel it squishing its way into my palm to find a snug fit.
I don’t know when he began that fascinating little ritual, and I don’t remember when he gave it up. But the memory of how it felt to hold that precious little hand resurfaces inside me. Despite sticky fingers, sweaty slime, or gooey gunk, when he placed his hand in mine I took it, I willingly found it a firm position and I kept it with me as long as he needed.
This summer Christopher’s much larger hand will encompass Catherine’s as they pledge their lives to one another. Together they will reassure one another, they will fit and frame the way they accept each other’s love so that the hold they create together will survive stubborn little pull-backs, but will always seem like a gentle grip.
I am reminded of a poem I wrote to place next to my young sons’ tiny handprints:
These little hands I put right here,
So you may always have them near.
As I grow bigger, my hands will too,
One day I may have bigger hands than you!
But Mommy, I’ll always remember
the warmth and the joy,
I feel as your hands hold mine,
while I’m a little boy!