Holding Hands


They disappear with friends
near age 11. We lose them
to baseball and tennis, garage
bands, slumber parties, stages
where they rehearse for the future,
ripen in a tangle of love knots.
With our artificial knees and hips
we move into the back seats
of their lives, obscure as dust
behind our wrinkles, and sigh
as we add the loss of them
to our growing list of the missing.

Sometimes they come back,
carting memories of sugar cookies
and sandy beaches, memories of how
we sided with them in their wars
with parents, sided with them
even as they slid out of our laps
into the arms of others.

Sometimes they come back
and hold onto our hands
as if they were the thin strings
of helium balloons
about to drift off.

~Olivia Stiffler “Grandchildren”, from Otherwise, We Are Safe

Spending a few precious days with a grandchild who lives far away just whets the appetite for wanting more time. These are such short years before they are off to their own lives, leaving their grandparents (and parents) behind.

So when they take my hand, my heart melts, knowing I hold on loosely, knowing I must, someday, somehow, let go.

And before I do, they will come back to hold my hand loosely, knowing they need to let me go.

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3 thoughts on “Holding Hands

  1. Pure, innocent, tabula rasas waiting to be filled, thriving on cuddling and kisses,filling us with hope for the future….

    Liked by 1 person

  2. So true! So poignant! But so necessary to learn these truths if we’re to have grace for each season of life. I remember when our son was 9 or 10 how naturally he would hold hands with me as we walked to his soccer field. I remember being surprised that he was still happy to hold his mother’s hand, knowing this season would soon end. I am glad I knew to treasure those fleeting moments, accepting the inevitability of change. There is sometimes struggle in the transitions of life. I need to continue to seek grace for each one.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Dear Emily, What a wonderful post. I, too, know the joy and heartache of being a grandparent. May the Lord bless you with more moments with the far-away grandkids.

    Liked by 1 person

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