Saturday, October 10, 2009

Holding Hands

Recently my mom and I got into a conversation about public displays of affection. She and Dad had been in Vegas and the City of Sin had had a lot of PDA going on. Now, we are an incredibly affectionate family. Hugs, kisses, "I love yous", are all part of our interactions. We use our hands to illustrate when we are talking as well as to touch the person we are talking to. Even for us there is a line though and evidently the line had been crossed often while Mom and Dad were in Las Vegas. This discussion lead me to ruminate on how Jim and I's relationship has progressed as evidenced by the progression of our own PDA.

Twenty-five years ago, when we first started dating, we were constantly in one another's hip pocket-literally. Smooching in between classes, walking with our arms around one another hands in each other's jeans pockets. When we were young and married it was still arms around one another but the "need" for constant touching cooled a bit-plus there was a little one in the mix. As we got older it was if we spread out a bit. From X in high school to }{ as young marrieds to \_/ as adults. In the car or walking down the street or even sitting at the movies or watching tv- we automatically clasped hands as if to maintain contact. I After 20 years of marriage, it was still automatic. I can't tell you how many times we heard comments about how "cute" it was that we still held hands after so long. Fortunately, our son takes his cues from the rest of the family and for him too it is not something you think about, just something you do. From two to twenty-two with no stops in between Josh has held my, his grandmothers, even his aunts (on my side) hand as well as hugged, kissed etc his family. Watching my friends children grow up and go through the "don't touch me" and "parents embarrass me" stages- I know exactly how blessed we are to have never have had that challenge with our "baby" :-)

When I was talking to Mom about this, I realized that we have adapted as our lives changed through the years and even now it still is. There was a time when I was first diagnosed that just the thought of having my hands touched would make me cry. It was very rough in the beginning because Jim would automatically grab my hand and I would stop still and pull away. This lead to upset feelings on both sides. Of course with Rheumatoid Arthritis we have our good days and our bad days in terms of the amount of pain in our limbs and often our partners don't know what our pain level is for the day. With Jim and I- our connection is too important for us to just let it go so we have found a way to make it work without performing a medical check each time. Without ever really discussing it we have transitioned to a less painful solution. Rather than taking my whole hand, Jim will hook a pinky on mine. If I am having a good hand day, we slide over into full hand contact, if not, the pinky will suffice.

Until my mom and I had this discussion, neither of us ever talked about it or even thought about it. It was just a way that we show our affection to one another, a way that we keep close without verbal cues. I never thought about the way we have transitioned over the years to accomodate our life changes. Now that we have dissected it, it has become almost an inside thing with us. As soon as we realize we have done this, we look at one another and just smile. So if you see the early 40's 6'4" thin man and the 5'0 not so thin woman strolling along holding hands- give them a smile- it just could be us.

No comments: