Living Happily Ever After


Hand Squeeze

“The spaces between my fingers are right where yours fit perfectly.” (Owl City, Vanilla Twilight)
I remember my papa’s hands; the tan, weathered hands of a rancher. His hands held mine, steadied one side of the steering wheel to keep us on the road as he “let me drive” the dirt roads to the farm long before I was 16. His hands lifted hay bales, fed baby sheep bottles, lifted me onto his horse, Old Yeller, so I could have a ride, and scooped water from the trough for us to drink out of the old tin cup in the water shed. How I loved my Papa and his hands.
My nana’s hands made her famous chocolate cake, brownies, sausage, creamed beans, mashed potatoes and gravy and every other edible delight (she was known for her good cooking.) They taught me to embroider, they ironed the red velvet dress of the doll she bought for me and the other granddaughters to play with at her house, they played pat-a-cake with my babies and children, they knitted me a beautiful afghan. One of my most poignant memories of Nana and her hands is that of her standing by Papa’s casket, her hand on his folded hands, and never letting go of those hands she’d held for close to 60 years’s she greeted the town who had come to pay their respects and honor a good man who had lived an exemplary life.
I have similar feelings and memories about my dad’s hands and my mom’s hands, though gnarled and twisted my mom’s arthritic hands became in the year’s before her death. I can’t believe it has been almost 26 years since I’ve seen or felt my dad’s hands; almost six year’s since I’ve held my mom’s. How I love and miss those hands.


I remember noticing my husband’s hands the moment I met him.  (That should have been a clue to me that something was up—I’ve never been a “hands” person or noticed hands, I guess there was something different about him!) My husband’s hands are good and kind hands. Hands that feel so right when they hold mine. Hands that squeeze mine during songs, movies or conversations, every time, in just the “right” and most romantic, places. (I must be a joy to be romantically involved with. Not! I’m so clueless; all of the time, it seems. For the longest time in our relationship when he squeezed my hand I’d think it was a mistake; a twitch or a reflex, but never on purpose! However, I’ve finally gotten that it’s intentional Romantic, even.)

When I think about my husband’s hands, I remember my youngest walking up to him the first time he spent any time with him at all, and how he put his tiny hand right into my husband’s hand and didn’t let go the entire day. I think of my husband’s hands working to provide for our family; tirelessly serving all eight children (even the grown, adult ones and their children); doing dishes; unloading the dishwasher; sweeping the floor; helping with homework; playing ball with the kids; doing yard work (despite the fact he’d joyfully retired from it and bought a condo prior to our marriage); planting a garden with my younger children every year; cooking Japanese food for our family; cooking breakfast every morning before work; playing the piano; opening doors for me and so many other things. I think of his hands wearing a wedding ring (my dad didn’t wear a wedding ring, and I’ve never been married to a man who wore a wedding ring, so it’s a new thing for me—but I like it!) And I’ll never forget my husband’s hand, clasping mine, on the day we married.

I guess I’m a hand person after all.

“Miss Morstan and I stood together, and her hand was in mine. A wondrous subtle thing is love, for here were we two, who had never seen each other until that day, between whom no word or even look of affection had ever passed, and yet now in an hour of trouble our hands instinctively sought for each other. I have marveled at it since, but at the time it seemed the most natural thing that I would go out to her so, and, as she has often told me, there was in her also the instinct to turn to me for comfort and protection. So we stood hand in hand like two children, and there was peace in our hearts for all the dark things that surrounded us.” (Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, “Sherlock Holmes: The Complete Novels and Stories, Volume 1″)

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