Daddy’s Hands (and NOT the drippy song)

When I was growing up, as most children, I had a set of rules engrained in my being, rules that I followed without question. It was almost as if they were etched upon the surface of my heart – it wasn’t possible for me to break them without immediately regretting it in fear of the consequences. Rules like, don’t talk back, don’t roll your eyes, come inside when the street lights come on…. the list goes on. Heaven (and my mother) knows I was not the most obedient child. However, I know one rule that I never broke, and it almost broke my heart to have it unnecessary in my life as I grew…

hold Dad’s hand everytime we get out of the car.
Open the car door at Wal-Mart, get out, grab Dad’s hand.
Run down to Tandy’s, walk across the parking lot, but only after getting ahold of Dad’s hand
(especially after the time I got lost in that store. no laughing.).
I gauged my growth by holding my dad’s hand. I can vivdly remember how it felt to hold his hand when I was just a wee little thing… my hand was too tiny to grasp anything but his finger. I remember feeling the rough calluses and the hair on the back of his knuckle, squeezing it to remind myself I was clinging to my lifeline in that gigantic Tandy’s grocery store. :)
I can remember time passing and realizing my hand fit his hand and that I could hold the hand as a whole. As I grew older and taller – a trait I have him to thank for – the necessity of holding Dad’s hand was no more. It was permissable to walk into Wal-Mart without having someone lead me. It was acceptable to wander Tandy’s without having to hold on.
But still, to this day, I can remember when it wasn’t; I can remember when I couldn’t do it without him, without holding on. It’s something that brings tears to my eyes. (like, right now. tears. in my eyes.) When I see a little girl following her pops with excitement and anticipation of where he might be taking her, I think about those years when that was me.
When I see a new dad hold his baby daughter
in the hand that she will eventually take hold of
as he walks her across the parking lot
to her first day of Kindergarten,
the hand that he will eventually
give her away with,
I’m too sappy to do anything but smile.

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