This morning, in the parking lot at Carson Pirie Scott, my daughter reached out and took my hand. That's enough of a blessing--she's going to be thirteen in February and I'm well aware of how fortunate I am to still be allowed to hug and kiss her in front of her friends and that sort of thing. But this moment was especially poignant for me because it brought back a clear memory of walking up those same steps with my daughter more than nine years ago, the summer she was three.
That day, I took her hand because she was three, and we were walking into a busy department store. Newly asserting various independences, she asked, "Why do you have to hold my hand?"
"Because I love to hold your hand," I told her, "so I'm going to do it as much as I can while you're little enough to let me." And she said, "Mommy, you can always hold my hand."
My mother, walking on her other side, laughed and said, "Remind her of that when she's twelve." I agreed, simultaneously smiling at the sweet innocence of a child young enough to think she'd never outgrow holding hands with her mommy and aching with the knowledge that she was wrong.
And she almost certainly was. But somehow, miraculously, that day hasn't come yet.