Tag Archives: Independence

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?

Love Those Layers

Contrary to logic, as the weather warms, the plant world dons more layers. Bushes and shrubs wrap colorful scarves of leaves and blossoms around their shoulders. Trees drape bare branches with graceful green mantles. My lawn pads itself with a soft, thick layer of crabgrass.

Young human beings, however, shun this idea. Passing our town’s grade school one chilly afternoon, I noticed most shivering kids walking home sported shorts and flip-flops. They looked bluer than Smurfs.

At prom time, young women wearing strapless bodices and frozen smiles grace the spring landscape. A million goose bumps encase these lovelies like Bubble Wrap.

If you’re a parent, you do not puzzle over this missing link between wardrobe and meteorological conditions. Weather has nothing to do with it. What’s really happening? Kids are exercising independence. We all do stupid things at that age so we can grow up to never make stupid decisions again.

Still, as a perfect, mature being, I sympathize. My classmates and I suffered similar symptoms. We of the Dick-and-Jane generation wouldn’t have dreamed of wearing shorts and flip-flops to school. Still, our rebellious frenzy blasted black holes in that era’s proper universe.

We wore sleeveless shirts to class.

Abused classmates still wore sweaters Great-aunt Arlene gave them for Christmas. Obviously, they hadn’t exerted proper control over their parents.

I enjoyed wild, uninhibited freedom — until Mom made me wear a jacket.

In fact, she and my teacher kept me in a catch-22.

Mom: This class sheet says you must dress for all weather possibilities. Wear your jacket.

Teacher: Your mother sent this jacket with you, so you have to wear it.

Me: Can’t I put off hot flashes for a few decades?

We tortured children discarded outerwear as close to school dumpsters as we dared. We left jackets hanging in restroom stalls — or tried to flush them.

But our sins always found us out. Traitors among us tattled. No doubt bribed with extra-long turns at the water fountain, these snitches displayed our jackets and sweaters before the entire class until someone identified the culprits. Never would have I participated in such betrayal.

But when my children were growing up, I not only surrendered to the traitors — I joined their ranks.

Sweaters and jackets remain my friends to this day. They conceal my medical condition known as winter waist, characterized by mysterious swelling and extreme pain when buttoning last spring’s capris. Even when the sun shines, I cling to my compassionate buddies.

Someday, the young will realize that, along with moms and teachers, layers can be their friends.

And trees, who sport new cover-up wardrobes every spring, aren’t so dumb, after all.

Your Extraordinary Ordinary: Do you love your layers, too?