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?