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June 20, 2009

Simple things, like holding hands.....

Holding hands is not so simple when you realize it isn’t happening anymore, or at least not from where it used to.

In the case of one’s children it seems to mean that they have changed or grown up or.... something. Is it because they don’t feel ‘cool’ or is it something worse to a parent, perhaps an act that says, “I don’t need that sort of comfort anymore.” Read, “I don’t need you.” Of course it’s not that bad. But when you’ve been cheated of time with them, it sure seems that way.

This, for me, has been the highest cost of separation and divorce.

Several years ago I vowed to keep track of, to know when my son last held my hand. (I first wrote about this in November of 2006) I can’t honestly remember when I last held my own father’s hand. I know I’ll probably hold it when he needs me. I will be there for him when he does, but I don’t know when I last held his hand. And so reluctantly, I have finally resigned myself to writing this note, this, cyber age post accepting the notion that my son has stopped holding my hand unless he surprises me at some point to come.


Maybe it’s been denial. Maybe it’s been hope. Maybe I’m just a foolish old man who can’t accept reality.... till now. So here goes. The last five.

I was visiting Winnipeg prior to my son’s 14th birthday. It was Saturday, November 3, 2007, and we were shopping and walking through St. Vital Center Mall. Nothing in particular happening, just a dad and his son walking. He just reached out and grabbed my hand for a bit. About 20 steps or so and then as I noticed more people around us, he casually let his hand slip out. Blame it on the cool factor I guess. Good excuse to soft punch his shoulder and drag him into a music store instead of trying to hold on.

The next time was March 31, 2008 going towards a Red Robin restaurant in Langley. We were visiting his cousins and having a great day and now, heading out to dinner with the gang he grabbed my hand, not to pull me, but grabbed my hand for a short while as we walked towards the door. I wish I’d walked slower.

Thursday April 3rd in another mall, Mayfair in Victoria. Out for some shorts or T-shirts at American Eagle. Just another wonderful moment with no excuses, holding my son’s hand for less than a minute. Still, special all the same this thing called touch. Anybody else in the world could have held his hand at that moment in time and it would not have meant the same thing. Would not have felt the same. To me it still meant that I have a little boy.

The next day, the day before having to fly back to Winnipeg where he has been made to live these last few years, we were having a nice walk back from the grocery store along Mill Bay Road. This was the last time we really held hands and walked as only a parent and child can walk. We did not walk fast. It was just us on the road in the sunshine. We didn’t even talk much. We just walked, knowing the next day would mean another plane to take him far away again. He grew up here. His heart is here. And his hand was in mine and I hope it was giving him what he needed. His hand certainly did for me.

The next day, at the Airport in Victoria about ten minutes before the flight, he reached out again. This was the last time he did so, the last time he held my hand. The last time I gave my little boy comfort by the touch of a hand. I know he didn’t want to go. He knew it, but there wasn’t anything else to do. We didn’t talk for those few minutes. We just sat and waited until the flight was called. And then he was up and waving goodbye along with his sister and they walked across the tarmac to the stairs and up into the plane and as he did so I swear I felt the warmth of his touch fade away a little slower than expected. Somehow I knew.

I’ve been waiting all this time, as said in the beginning of this note, pretending it wasn’t time yet to write it. I sincerely hope that something other than disease or old age will give him cause to hold my hand again. Time alone will tell. But for the record, the last time that I held my son’s hand was April 5, 2008 at about 8:30 in the morning.

The last time I had to dry my eyes because of it was right now.

Tomorrow is Father’s Day. They grow up fast don’t they?

~ AP

Posted by Anonymous Pundit at June 20, 2009 03:15 PM


Happy Fathers Day!

Very well stated. I never thought much about holding hands before. A simple gesture can have such a powerful impact.

Posted by: Cut-N-Jump at June 21, 2009 08:53 AM

Thank you

Posted by: AP at June 22, 2009 07:00 AM

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