This morning I woke up and as I focused into consciousness and began my day, I was overwhelmed by a question I had never asked myself — when was the last time I held my kids?
Kind of a weird thing to think about at 5:30am in the morning. Have you ever asked yourself that question? If you have little kids, it might not seem like such a big deal question. But if your kids are grown or growing up and are beyond the holding stage, it might be interesting to think back on it.
A sense of melancholy ebbed into my soul as I realized that my time of holding my kids had past — they are ages 19, 14 and 12 — however, I did not cement into my mind the last time of holding each one of them. Those last holding moments now evaporated, I was a bit sad knowing that all my kid holding opportunities were gone, hopefully either sealed in my memory or captured in precious pictures. But, as with many of you, none of us knew exactly when the last time we held our kids would be. I can only be thankful that the ceasing of kid holding was a result of them growing up into adolescents, teenagers and young adults — not the ripping of a child through death (which is my ONLY fear in this world).
The thought was interesting because it started me down memory lane back to when the kids were holdable — either as babies, infants, toddlers or energetic children. I remember times of immense comfort knowing that someone so innocent of the world relied upon me for everything. The unconditional love an infant or young child gives you can make anything at work, on the news, or troubling your mind instantly disappear. The times I was accosted upon returning home from work after a long day as if I was king — although I don’t think kings get tackled with little arms of love…..and it is their loss. And the precious times of quiet sleep as my flesh and blood rested in my arms peacefully.
As a young dad, there were times when I made the concerted effort to be the last to let go, either when hugging or when holding. The kids didn’t know it but I would deliberately not let go if hugging or not move when holding. Only when THEY were done did I let go or move. That led to blessings of multi-minute hugs and holds measured in quarter, half and full hours instead of mere minutes. And although I did that consciously to ensure I received my share of dad-love, I now look back and wish I had done it more. You always want more of what you can’t have.
So for those of you who have babies, infants, toddlers, or young children, I implore, beg, and plead that you hold and hug your offspring every chance you get. I promise you that it will not be time or effort wasted. I also promise you, as someone farther down the same path you are on, that someday there will come a time where you will have your last child hold…..and POOF, it will be gone.
…..Dan at aslowerpace dot net
Postscript — I went up to my son’s room tonight with the special intent of holding him. He is 12 so it isn’t a normal thing. However, he is sick right now so he welcomed my intrusion. But…..it is not the same. While I enjoyed it, the thought of his little body (or either of my daughter’s) in my lap is a comfort I can only enjoy by memory.