This is more than a photo. A mother and a child, hand in hand, a symbol of love, of parenthood.
It’s an everyday occurrence, a part of our routine. But I know it will soon end.
A little longer, and it will all be over.
Hand in hand means so much more.
A reminder that time passes, inevitably and quickly.
A shiver went down my spine when I realized that I had no idea for how much longer my daughter would want to hold my hand.
And only a few years ago…
I wasn’t one of those mothers who make their children start to walk as soon as possible, who hold their little hands and encourage them: Come on, you can do it, there you goooo…. I let her crawl for as long as she wanted. I’m surprised her knees didn’t leave a permanent imprint on the nursery floor.
I just let her do thing at her own pace. After all, nobody crawls forever.
One day, she just stood up. She made a few unsteady steps in my direction before she fell in my arms. She started walking at 13 months of age. I wrote down the exact date in a colored notebook I will keep with me forever.
Since then, the two of us have always walked together, hand in hand.
I admit I hate to let go of that little hand.
What if she falls? What if she gets hurt? What if she runs into the street?
The symbol of parenthood, of growing up, of love.
My daughter has recently invented a new game.
The idea came out of the blue. “Mom, let’s pretend we don’t know each other. Like, I’m a grown-up, taking a walk on my own.”
My baby is growing. She is still a small, insecure child, she gets scared sometimes, but she’s also increasingly curious about what it’s like to be a little more independent. Even walking a few meters away from her mom counts as an adventure.
So we walked, side by side at first, and then she suddenly moved away and pretended to be a big girl who walked alone. She wanted to feel what it was like when she no longer needed her mom’s hand. A few minutes later, the game ended abruptly when a car or something else passed and the big girl got frightened, grabbed my hand and said: “Mom, let’s know each other again…”
I admit I was eager to squeeze those tiny fingers that had found their way back to me. I was happy.
And I already know that the whole point of our most important task – the parenthood – is to eventually let them:
fall because they have to learn to get up,
fly using their own wings,
taste and grasp life on their own.
I know that the day will come, maybe soon, when we will stop hugging before we say goodbye. And I know that the day will come when her small hand will stop looking for mine and the game will become reality.
I’m just not ready for it yet.