Tuesday, March 23, 2021

SOL21 Slice 23: Holding hands

 



I am participating in the
All participants are sharing stories about moments in their lives, writing 
 every day for the month of March 2021.
Thank you, Two Writing Teachers, for nurturing teacher-writers!


Check out this sweet photo:



These are the hands of four month old Bird. Since her earliest days, she has held her own hands. I suspect she did this in utero. I find it so dear. I cradle her in my arms, and there she is, her own fingers interlocked. She is self-soothing - no small thing, right? She also reaches up to grab our fingers and hands, but she loves to simply hold her own. 

Adorable.

Her big sister Frog (28 months old) has a different touch technique for soothing. From her earliest days, Frog has held onto the thumb of a loving adult's hand, while sucking her own thumb. Yes, she reaches for touch support from others. She reaches out for this loving thumb whenever she feels "too much" - too sad, too tired, too scared or surprised. I find this very dear, too. Yes, clasping onto an adult finger, and holding on tight, seems to soothe her. Check out my most recent photo of her reaching for my hand:



Any idea what her hands were into, before she reached for me? Frozen blueberries! Yes, I don't know why she was overcome with this need to hold my thumb in the midst of her funny little favorite snack (she loves to eat frozen blueberries), but the next thing I knew she said - "Nana?" and reached for me. How could I refuse this? Now I wonder, did she simply get too cold? Maybe one of those freeze-headache sensations, and she reached out for support? Pretty funny, pretty dear. 

I must admit, it was a strange sensation to feel that frozen, juiced hand around my thumb. I had a flashback memory of picking up the frozen, melting chunks of a popsicle after they fell onto a table. No, not my favorite sensation, but the tight hold of support from Frog 'got me through it."

It is a very dear 'ask' of me. I will miss her doing this, one day.

How important it is to touch, to hold hands. How much good it does! When I taught preschool (pre-pandemic), I held hands with those little ones most every day, for varied reasons - some need help walking up and down the stairs; some I simply needed to keep by my side for a bit; goodness knows, some needed me to hold their hand just to help them keep their balance for an unexpected change of clothes. Certainly, just like with Frog, many preschoolers found it very soothing to hold their teacher's hand when they felt sad or hurt or simply unsettled.

Holding on to my granddaughters' hands today, I wondered -
how are early learning teachers guiding children 'in-person' without touch, during this pandemic? 
How is this even possible?

I also flashed on my dear Dad, in his final days this past August. At 91 years of age, he, too, like a young child, seemed to crave touch. When I first visited him, three weeks before he died, here's how I found his hands:


 
Reminds me of his great granddaughter, Bird! I was able to spend a lot of time with my Dad during his last days (I am so grateful for this), and one of my most poignant memories is how much he seemed to enjoy just holding my hand. This is one of my very last photos, which I truly treasure:




That's me and Dad, holding hands.





"The touch of love awakens wonders."
- Lailah Gifty Akita



16 comments:

  1. I think touch is incredibly important and people crave it. I love your photo of you and your dad holding hands. I wish I would have gotten one like that of my mom and me.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you! This photo means so much to me.

      Delete
  2. Such a beautiful post! If I had to choose one of the best, this would have my vote. I loved how you compared the cold little hands to "flashback memory of picking up the frozen, melting chunks of a popsicle after they fell onto a table." line. All so very dear, and how you went through the ages of birth to death with the photos and words. Very moving. Thank you.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you, so much! Touch is so important.

      Delete
  3. THIS started out as a grandmother's love for her grandchild and moves into reflecting about and asking about the power of touch at every point in our lives. I'm thinking of those images of those in nursing facilities this year, isolated and alone....as well as children in day care and schools who are seeing people only with masks and feeling people only with gloves. We all miss the power of touch but for many, the losses may be significant and life changing. This is a powerful piece.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. The loss of touch has been so significant and painful this past year. There is "power of touch at every point in our lives."

      Delete
  4. This is the most beautiful reflection I’ve read in a very long time. It’s comforting and a reminder how important touch is. I wonder if Bird’s holding her own hands indicates independence, an ability to take care of herself. I wonder if Frog’s reaching for others’ hands is something she’ll do when older as a way to comfort friends and family. I love the photos. I think you should write some poems about these photos. Beautiful slice today,

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you, Glenda! Funny, I was thinking about writing a poem/some poems...just couldn't wrap my head around it. Maybe this blog is a draft, a prelude, before poetry.

      Delete
  5. What a touching and beautiful slice. Your photos deepen the connection felt through this post. Something as simple as touch conveys so much more than we realize.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you! I just kept noticing our hands, I had to take photos. Very special.

      Delete
  6. Like Glenda, this slice would be just as beautiful on poem forms. What a tender and lovely and heartwarming slice. Absolutely beautiful. I love the pictures you included - so powerful. Thank you for sharing.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you! I appreciate your comments so much.

      Delete
  7. Oh, Maureen. And there you are with a perfect quote again, the touch of love throughout the generations, and you who are tying them altogether with exquisite literary ribbon. I love all the photos. (My daughter too was a fan of frozen blueberries. Frog's little hand brought back lots of sweet memories.)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you, Denise! How fun that your daughter enjoyed frozen blueberries - a rare delight!

      Delete
  8. Your many reflections of holding hands and its power to connect and sooth resonates with my heart. How incredible that you have pictures of the young and the old and how dear they both are to you. I thought your description of pre-schoolers needing to hold your hand for any number of reasons throughout the day was insight into all hand holding, it could be for comfort or for balance. And how lovely to so easily share both with another person. Loved the descriptions and the thoughts!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you! I have long loved the look of hands at work; through the years, I have found myself zooming in on hands in photos.

      Delete