My mother had the softest hands of anyone I have ever known. When I was small, she would stroke the bridge of my nose to help settle me in for the night. And often would do the same to assist in quieting my tears. As an adult when sitting together on the couch or at church, she would reach out to hold my hand. Or I would even find myself absentmindedly stroking the top of her velvety hand. My mother often connected with people through physical touch. She understood that comfort came from the love that she had for other people. She hugged freely, embraced often, held hands for longer than necessary. I miss my mom. I miss her amazing soft hands.
When I was dating my husband, back when we were in college, I remember watching his hands move. How he shifted the manual gears in his car. How he twirled a pen when he was concentrating. How he held sandwiches tightly as if he knew it was preparing to fall to pieces. I loved how he always reached for my hand when we were driving those long country roads back to campus after we had been out to see a movie or to dinner. I loved watching him embrace his little brother and play with him. I adored watching him deal cards to his grandma and grandpa and myself when we visited for dinner and few hands of gin. His hands are so strong and were what I came to affectionately call, man hands. They were strong and slightly callused from working hard on the job that was paying for his college tuition. They were the hands that I loved. The hands I would always hold.
Now, even at 15 and 11, I hold my children's hands. When guiding them across busy streets, when calming after an upset. When guiding and pulling them into an embrace. I am the lucky one. Still at these ages, they don't resist much. They love to hold my hand as much as I love to hold theirs. I already have felt a pang of sorrow for the day that they will no longer seek out the refuge of my hands. My hands will always want to comfort, guide, encourage and love my children. I must always insist, my loving hands aren't going anywhere and will continue to serve as balm for the weary soul as long as necessary.