The other day I went for a stroll with Child #2. We were still on the sidewalk when I reached for his hand. At first he pulled away and then, with a sigh, he relinquished and let me grab hold.
"You know mom," he said. "I'm eight now. So, this is more about you than it is about me."
Which struck me as the kind of childish wisdom my kids are so good at dispensing.
He knows better than to veer off into the street. He's not going to walk into a lamp post or a flower pot. He doesn't trip over his own feet anymore and need me to steady him. He's a big kid. Really, I just like to hold his hand.
Of course, because writing is what I do and writers think in metaphors, I immediately applied this to the social media realm.
I give a lot of handholding and words of encouragement to my brothers and sisters behind the keyboards. Most writers do. I treasure the writer friends and relationships I've made and I'm always happy to support, give a shout out, read their books and write reviews.
But Child #2's words made me wonder. Am I holding everyone's hand because they need it or because I need to feel the gentle reassuring squeeze back.
Writing is a lonely job. It's better to do it with friends.
Call it co-dependance, mutuality or whatever you want. In the end the categorization doesn't matter.
Child #2 was right. The hand-holding is probably more about me than you. I hope that's okay. Actually, I'm pretty sure it will be. In fact, I'd be willing to bet I'm not alone when I reach out a helping hand with the subconscious motive of steadying both myself, and the person whose hand I've just taken.