Standing next to her holding her hand and watching her fight back tears as the dentist sticks her with one last shot, I think to myself she won't need me to hold her hand much longer. But in the very next moment, I realized that I'm wrong . . .
How many times did my mother hold my hand after I was "too big" or "too grown up" for that kind of stuff? Holding your hand looks like letting you fall down and get yourself back up and cheering you on when you make it. It happens when you get your first job and she buys all of your brothers' school clothes from your workplace while you are at work to show she supports what you're doing. She literally holds your hand to keep you from severely injuring yourself when you're high from getting your wisdom teeth surgically removed. It looks like being at your beck and call to move you back home the moment you realize it was a terrible idea to move out with your boyfriend. It happens by ignoring the very false rumors that you are having an assumed shotgun wedding just because you don't want to wait. Holding your hand is when she crochets an entire blanket out in the hall because you want her there but not actually in the room while you go through childbirth. She holds your hand by running your epileptic daughter through the doctor office doors because you couldn't get there in time to do it yourself; it is caring for your babies while you have to go to work. Holding your hand happens while waiting for the details on the autism diagnosis, supplying treats and meals when the days are long and trying. Keeping the truth about heart disease from you because she knows you aren't ready to face it yet. And leaving you to fly on your own because it is time . . .
All in that next moment, I realized how my sweet daughter was facing the worst thing in her life right then but that I have so much more to hold my children's hands through. So much more to face.