In my lifetime I’ve held hands with 9 people.


Photo by MDietzPhotography

Barring a “boyfriend” in middle school those remaining individuals with whom I’ve held hands mean/meant the world to me.

One was an ex boyfriend. The day he grabbed my hand, I was a twenty-year old college girl who’d never even been kissed. When he picked my hand up and put it in his, I thought I could die that moment and be happy. My whole body shook, my heart felt like it might burst, and I just about came unglued. Despite the fact that he’s an ex, that experience goes down in my books as one of the most memorable.

I’ve held the hands of three of my grandparents. With each of them the holding hands phase came at different times. With both of my grandfathers it came after my grandmothers passed away. It was not as much a showing of affection as it was an offering of strength and support. A gentle squeeze to let them know that someone still cared.

Once, just once, I grabbed the hand of a best friend from across a table when he was going through a heartbreak. To this day, he still tells me that the moment I took his hand in mine is one he will never forget. One that defined our friendship as a love story of different sorts.

I held my dad’s hand when I was a little girl and then again the day I had to walk into the church for my grandma’s funeral.

Of course all children hold their mom’s hand. I did this many times. I’m sure my fingers wrapped around my mom’s before I can even remember. They have continued to grab onto her hand even at this point in my life. Even though the occasions are fewer and farther between, my mom’s hand will always be one I know I can reach for.

Much different from my first hand-holding experience with a boy, there was no anticipation to holding Zach’s hand. (Anticipation to other things? Yes! Oh yes! In copious amounts, but not hand holding). It was strange actually. We weren’t kissing yet, but we were in love already and one day we were sitting next to each other watching a movie. One minute we’re sitting there with hands in our laps and the other minute our fingers were intertwined.

There was no big admission of feeling. There was no “moment” held sacred just for our first time holding hands. There was no lead up. We were watching t.v. and our hands found each other. Our palms weren’t sweaty. Our hearts weren’t pounding. Zach didn’t have to coach himself through it, “Okay, in three seconds I will grab her hand!” It just was.

Each person I’ve held hands with, I’ve held his/her hand for a different reason. With each person it’s a different language. Each occasion might mean something differently.   The interesting thing is, though, we rarely grab someone else’s hand without reason. We hug and/or kiss when we part ways with someone we love and often times even just acquaintances. We usually don’t just grab someone’s hand to say goodbye.

We grab hands because we feel something and want to share that feeling with someone else. We are scared, we are sad, we are unsure or unsteady even, we are happy, we are full of love.

When Zach’s hand found mine that first time on the Love Sac, it was the start of our language. “I’m here.”

Since then, it’s meant so much to have that hand and the message that accompanies it.

When we knelt across the altar from one another on our sealing day, his hand held mine tightly. It was “I’m here! I’m so excited that I’m here, sharing this moment with you. I’ll always be here!”

When we are saying prayers at night, our hands find each other. “I’m here. This is our prayer. I’m grateful for the same things you’re grateful for. I want the same things you want. I forgive the things you are asking forgiveness for.”

When we’re in the hospital and tears are rolling down my face, “I’m here. Don’t be scared. I’m right here.”

When we’re in a car ride and I’m lost in my own thoughts, he grabs my hand to remind me he’s there with me. I don’t need to say anything but this is a moment where we are together and Zach makes a point of taking any opportunity when we’re together to hold my hand and remind me that he’s there.

I’m so grateful for the hands I’ve held. All of them. For those intimate moments and the things they communicate heart to heart that we often can’t find words for.