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Tuesday, September 24, 2013


The other day I was talking to a writer friend of mine and somehow we got on a discussion of how our mothers held our hands. Neither of our mothers held our hands in a loving way. Odd isn’t it? And even odder is that both of us are only children whose mothers have long since died. I told her “My mother had a death grip on my hand and would jerk it over to her if I did anything wrong.” Were any words spoken? Absolutely none.  She replied “My mother did the very same thing!” Silence for a few moments before we resumed talking about how our mothers held our hands. “My mother squeezed my hand so much that it hurt” I told her. “Same here” she retorted.

This led to a discussion of why they did that in the first place. Neither of us were bad children that did horrid things. “I’ve often wondered that myself” said my friend. “Tell me about it” I winced. Then I asked her how her father held her hand. “Did he squeeze your hand like your mother? Because my dad didn’t.” I got a reply of “No, he was gentle when he held my hand.” I completely understood that one as well. Our fathers held our hands as if to guide us or to soothe us and no way like out mothers. None.

Of course this led to a further discussion about how our grandparents held our hands and again, they didn’t squeeze our hands until they hurt. They did squeeze our hands at times and that was a sign of love.

Holding hands with a man you’re in love with has a completely different meaning and feeling. “You can feel the static running through your hand to his” I told my friend. “Of course you can” she said. I went on to say that holding a man’s hand that you are in love with can also offer solace, comfort or a guiding feeling. She agreed.

I told her of holding my sons’ hands when they were little. It was a wonderful feeling to hold those chubby little hands and know that what you held was a part of yourself. Unlike my mother, I never squeezed their hands until the hurt but there were times when I held onto their hands firmly. I didn’t want them to get hurt or run away into traffic. “Did you ever jerk your child’s hand over to you?” I asked her. “Naturally I did if there were some threatening danger near.” “I understand completely” was my reply.

And so I will leave you with these thoughts to ponder. If you were an only child or maybe had siblings, did your mother squeeze the daylights out of your hand and pull you over to her? To me it was a sign of “You’re not going to do that young lady!” without a word spoken.

Holding hands say a lot, without any words spoken at all, but all of us know the full meaning regardless as to whom is holding ours. It’s learned and once learned, you never forget it ever—the good, the bad and the ugly way your hand is held.

Sherry Hill

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Sherry Hill

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