I Wanna Hold Your Hand

Did your parents insist on holding your hand?

At age three, I declared my independence. Yanking my hand from Mommy’s, I zipped into a busy street. After that, she chained me to her.

Holding hands took on different dimensions when I entered fifth grade. In 1964, The Beatles had serenaded the world with “I wanna hold your hand!” Some classmates dared embrace the lyrics. Cool boys and girls sat in the back of the bus, (gasp!) holding hands.

I wasn’t cool.

A late-blooming teen, I continued to observe friends holding hands at ball games and parties. Eventually, at a roller rink, I entered that mysterious world where a touch could electrify an entire nervous system — making me so nervous, I tripped and nearly crippled my skating partner for life.

Dangerous business, holding hands.

When a super-shy guy asked me out, I figured that after dating six months, we might hold hands. During the romantic play, though, his fingers found mine. Electricity! Four years later, we held hands as we said wedding vows.

When did hand-holding become another memory snapshot in our wedding album? Hubby’s 24/7 medical career often kept us apart. Our outnumbered hands constantly clasped six little ones, protecting them. Perhaps we kept the chiseled-in-wedding-ring commandment: Never let anyone know you like each other. Especially your kids. And God forbid you hold hands at church.

Our children began to explore college possibilities. Hubby kept busy as ever, caring for patients. I was writing and going to school. We could run in circles that never touched until our 50th anniversary.

Was that right?

One evening, I said to Hubby, “Let’s go for a walk.”

“Where?”

“It doesn’t matter. Just a walk. Together.” Then, I dropped the bomb: “I want to hold your hand.”

“Huh?” A walk without a clear destination? Holding hands, when we’d been married two decades?

He cooperated, though his narrow-eyed gaze said he suspected a woman-trap.

Not the walk I had in mind.

Despite un-movie results, I asked him again.

The second experiment went better. He even said, “This is kind of nice.” And after our third stroll, “This was a good idea.”

The added bonus: We embarrassed our children.

Years later, we continue hand-holding walks. We don’t count steps. We don’t measure our heartbeats — we share them. Sometimes we, er, discuss things. We laugh.

College students alternate incredulous looks (“Old people like each other?”) and the Lord-bless-’em gazes they’d expect from us.

I always was a rebel.

Unlike my three-year-old self, though, I don’t want to declare my independence.

I always wanna hold your hand, babe.

I never wanna let go.

Your Extraordinary Ordinary: When did you and your spouse last hold hands?

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