Disney World was feeling anything but magical. The heat index was 114 and I thought I would melt right into the sidewalk. My annoyance over the oppressive heat was rivaled only by my irritation that it was so crowded.
We weaved through swarms of people as we made our way from attraction to attraction or, in reality, from line to line. Either way, I just wanted to keep moving in a feeble attempt to escape the beating sun. The problem was, my seven-year-old son kept insisting on holding my hand. And it was slowing me down.
Mama was hot. Sweaty. Ornery. And I didn’t want to be touched. But he was persistent. No matter how often I shook him off, he’d sidle right back up to me and grab hold of my hand like a little barnacle. And I am not going to lie, it was driving me crazy.
At one point, I looked up at my teens. They were laughing and jostling each other. Independent. Confident. Oblivious to me altogether. And I suddenly wondered, when was the last time either of them held my hand? Five years ago? Ten? I couldn’t recall.
Like so many other steps towards independence, this milestone passed without any fanfare or photos or even awareness. It just happened. And I would never have it back.
I glanced back down at my son. Still seven. Still wanting to hold mommy’s hand. Still needing me. But not for much longer.
I gave his hand a little hand a squeeze that traveled right to my heart. And I determined to savor this time instead of wishing it away.
He held my hand the entire week. Whether we were walking, standing in line or riding from place to place, his hand was in mine more often than it wasn’t. And it became the sweetest memory of my trip. I am guessing that it will be one of the last vacations in his lifetime where he’ll want to hold mommy’s hand. And I didn’t miss it.
As a mom, I know too well how frustrating it can be to be needed nonstop. It can leave you feeling henpecked and wrung out. Motherhood offers few breaks and the exhaustion can settle right into your bones. But these little moments of being needed, the ones that can seem to just be adding to the endless sapping of energy, are sometimes the ones that you wish you could have back.
The hand holding.
The bath time giggles.
The one more story.
The endless need for cuddles.
The insistence on being held.
There are so many moments when I am tired of being touched. Too fried to prolong bedtime. Too much in a hurry to slow down. But I never regret it when I do. Because all of the urgency of daily living can sometimes rob us of the most tender moments with our kids. And I don’t want to miss out.
So I will hold his hand. I will savor these moments. I won’t do it perfectly but I will try. And I know that in the end, I will be glad I did.