Lesson from Sea Otters

Sea otters hold hands so they don’t float away from each other while they sleep.  Not only does that look adorable, it is also very good advice.  Holding hands can be incredibly bonding and has affected my life in so many different ways.

My husband spontaneously slipped his hand into mine and gave it a little squeeze. I squeezed back while we enjoyed a mid afternoon stroll with our dog. As we walked I enjoyed how secure and safe it felt. This simple gesture symbolized a connection between us and it felt good.

Holding hands brings joy.  In grade school I happily held hands with my best friend as we ran toward the swings on the playground. The first time I held hands with a boy it felt intimate and awkwardly thrilling at the same time. I remember when my children were learning to take their first steps. Their tiny hands grasped so tightly around my fingers totally trusting me to provide support as they toddled on wobbly legs toward this exciting new milestone.

Holding hands make words unnecessary.  My sister stood bravely beside her son’s body as I calmly took her hand in mine. It signified a moment of support and an attempt to comfort as I tried so hard to let her know, without saying a word, she wasn’t alone. (John had passed away very unexpectedly from a blood clot. He was a young father so full of humor and quick wit which made it extra hard to say goodbye.) I remember how she tightly grasped my hand as she struggled to comprehend that terribly sad moment.  A few years ago I held my mom’s hand as she breathed her final breaths of life. Mom was unconscious, but just in case she was somehow aware, I wanted her to know we were all there to support her through to the end as she always did for us. I also remember sitting by my dad’s body the morning he died. I placed his hand in mine, held it to my cheek, kissed it one last time and gently held onto it as my siblings and I said our private goodbyes.


Holding hands breeds intimacy.  My husband and I often drift off to sleep at night as we hold hands. We eventually let go and roll away, but what a sweet way to end our day.  Holding our grandchildren’s hands as we walk together are some of my most cherished moments.  I treasure looking down at their faces as they glance up at me while we share silly jokes or serious talks about Legos or princesses. Saying grace together as a couple or when the family gathers is a truly special time.

Holding hands with a stranger can give you courage. There was a moment in my life when I received difficult news and a stranger took hold of my hand and held it firmly as if they were trying to transmit their strength as well as comfort.  They will never know what that meant to me.

In good times, in bad times, in times of comfort, in times of support, in times of closeness, nothing quite compares (except maybe a warm hug) to reaching out and wrapping your fingers around another’s.

Holding hands is such a powerful gift and I can’t believe how often it has been underappreciated or gone unnoticed in my life. I am taking a lesson from the sea otter and will extend my hand to others more often in an effort to keep the important people in my life from drifting away from me!  What memories do you have while holding someone’s hand?


58 thoughts on “Lesson from Sea Otters

  1. Holding hands is a very special blessing. My husband and I will celebrate our 40th wedding anniversary on March 3, 2019. We still hold hands. Several times, strangers have shared how they love seeing us holding hands. 🙂


  2. A great post and so enlightening and a good reminder of the simple pleasures and supports of life. We all need a good hand holding once in a while. I snore when I sleep so I sleep in a separate room from my husband. It will be great and I dream of that day when I can share a bed with him and hold hands. I do try to hold hands or give someone a hug sometimes at least. I held my husband’s hand for the first time when the priest put his hand in mine during the wedding service. My husband often remarks that I held on fast to his hand and that touched him.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. A lovely post, and a great lesson for us from the otters. I’ve been through similar experiences to some of the ones you describe, and have especially happy memories of my two daughters when they needed that support.


  4. How sweet these little otters. I love this and didn’t know this about them. You are right about the hand holding something about that changes the moment entirely no matter when in life this happens. I love all the times you shared here! I was thinking about my daughters father yesterday and how we used to hold hands a lot. I love holding hands. I’m also realizing I don’t do that much anymore but I’m going to start. 💜 Such a beautiful post. May I share it?


  5. A lovely post.
    I was holding my Dad’s hand when he passed away, and my Mum was holding the other. It was a special moment. Sadly I could not be with her when she passed away at the beginning of last year, but when I last saw her, even though she was asleep, I held her hand for the duration of my visit. She opened her eyes and for a few seconds registered recognition, smiled at me, and went back to sleep.
    Hubby holds my hand a lot. We like to be close, and there is no need for words.


  6. I popped over from Esme’s to say hello…What a delightful post we are a family of huggers but my grandchildren always take my hand the little just because she does and the biggest to help me if he thinks I need a hand with steps…Both are very special…I love your examples 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

  7. That was a beautiful post. My husband and I are on our 2nd marriage and will have 22 years together this year. We find that at night we often reach for each others hands as we sleep. It is lovely and comforting.


  8. You are very right ,holding hands is much more a deep meaningful gesture than it looks.Myself and my husband watch tv in the evening holding hands or sometimes we feel asleep in bed like that too and it is so intimate and comforting ❤️

    Liked by 1 person

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