Wednesday, August 1, 2012

I Wanna Hold Your Hand

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's right.

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.


Beylit said...

Having a hand to hold is very important. It is comforting to know that when you need to reach for someone, whether you admit it or not, that there is a hand there to steady you.

Rachel Schieffelbein said...

What a smart kid. :)
This is a great post. So so true!

Angela Cothran said...

I still make my 7 year old hold my hand when she crosses the street :) I'll miss it when she gets too big.

Talli Roland said...

Love his response! :)

I am never adverse to a little hand-holding.

Dianne K. Salerni said...

A very astute comment from your son. Better than the glare and "limp fish" hand holding she used to give me back before i gave up.

And yes, sometimes the advice and commiseration we give each other is for own sake. Well put.

Jemi Fraser said...

yes! It's nice to have those hands to hold - this is a big scary world at times! :)

Anonymous said...

Virtual hand holding is fine, but my OCD tendencies prevent actual hand holding.

T. L. Cooper said...

His response was insightful, honest, and sweet. When we hold one another's hand, the energy flows back and forth and out to the other people in our circles like a ripple in a pond. We are never alone and what we put out there comes back to us and goes beyond us. That's what makes even the simple gestures so important. Beautiful post!

Carol Kilgore said...

I think you're so right about writers supporting each other. And I'm so happy we do :)

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

I think it's human nature (in most people anyway) that wants to encourage and support because we get so much out of the deal as well.

Tonja said...

Well, I think there's no shame in showing love to our children or fellow writers even if they don't need the love. :)

Unknown said...

I need hand holding and I love that you are here for that. :) But, I love your kid's wisdom. That is one smart, perceptive kid.

Johanna Garth said...

Beylit, couldn't agree more.

Rachel, he is smart but sshhh let's not tell him.

Talli, he's very patient with me.

Dianne, I get the limp fish from my daughter too.

Jemi, so true!

TL, it's all about the good karma.

Joshua, yes, to clarify, I'm talking about virtual hand holding :)

Carol, isn't it great!

Alex, exactly. We're wired to want to help other people.

Tonja, I will force my love on my kids as long as they will put up with it.

Melissa, anytime :)

Jo Schaffer said...

Such an insightful remark from such a youngster!

Truth is--everyone needs a hand to hold sometimes. (=

Liza said...

You are not alone.

L. Diane Wolfe said...

Moms are just hard-wired to hold hands. It's our protective, nurturing nature.

Chuck said...

Nice post Johanna. Your kids will appreciate it more than they know as they get older...keep on lovin' em! said...

Grab my hand anytime, Johanna. I always appreciate your sweet words of support.

Those pictures are precious.

Nicki Elson said...

I will accept your handholding for whatever reason you want to offer it. Looks like both you and your son are very wise. ;)

Really beautiful pictures, btw.

Kristen Wixted said...

My littlest just turned 7 and he's slowly getting there. I am not looking forward to it, but now that I can employ your son's elegant quote changed a bit to fit my needs, "Hey, buddy, this is more about me than it is about you, okay?" I'll be fine.

So who is it about when you brag about the Yankees?

Barbara Watson said...

Yep. It's more than okay to steady someone else because you need it too.

Anonymous said...

Fortunately my girls still want to hold my hand. I know the day will come when this will stop. Until then, I'll hold their hands.

jenny milchman said...

What a milestone for you and your wise son! In terms of the writers' hands...well, I certainly appreciate when you hold mine :)

And, now that I'm here, hey, we could have a physical pat as well--must talk!!

Very nice post :)

Michael Di Gesu said...

WE all need a gentle squeeze for reassurance. Keep right at it Johanna!

Your son is too cute.... he looks just like you!

Cecilia Robert said...

Aw..that is absolutely precious. Children say the wisest things, as well as true.
Great post. :)

I like holding hands - more for support and jsut to say 'I'm here'My 7 year old loves it. My 14 year old is another story all together. :)

Alison DeLuca said...

Aw, that feeling of having a little warm, solid hand in yours! So wonderful, so fleeting...

Your son sounds amazing, but then, I'm not surprised.

And as someone who is very happy to be in a great group of authors, this post hit home on many levels.

PK HREZO said...

That's too cute. My son is going on 8 too and wow, I just can't help but think he's not gonna need me as much.
But at the same time, that's what I want too--a strong independent young man who's not afraid to hug his mom. Ever. lol