Daughter Two has had enough of hand-holding.
There’s been no official edict. No declaration. It’s just not cool.
Her hand is no longer available. She’ll show affection in her own, 12-year-old way. Usually via a quick hug.
She has gone down the same path as The Teenager. Although it must be said, the older sister was less definite about it all. She would forget sometimes, and grab Dad’s hand. Until she remembered that it’s not the done thing.
Daughter Two was one of the great hand-holders. Her tiny hand would be in mine wherever we went.
It’s one of the special things about being a Dad. Trying to make those around you feel safe. Little girls know all is fine in the world, when Dad is clutched close by.
From parks to shopping centres, and everywhere in between. Crossing the road. On the way to school, and on the way home. ‘Hold my hand Daddy.’ Music to a father’s ears.
We were at the movies on the weekend. Just the two of us. Another thing I love about being a Dad. To giggle through a flick, munching on too much popcorn and slurping iceless coke, is indeed a treat.
On the way to the cinema, I made a grab for those delicate fingers. I knew what the result would be. But I did it anyway. That’s another special thing about being a Dad. The ability to annoy.
She pulled her hand away, and laughed. We were both in on the joke. I pointed out that it used to be the other way around. That she used to grab MY hand. Another laugh.
‘Dad, I was, like, 6. All little kids do that. I’m older now.’ And so she is.
I explained to her that there is a cycle in this hand-holding business. Sure, a ban was in place right now. But things would change.
She would again want the same feeling of comfort that little girl had, a few years back. During boyfriend problems. And marriage. When she had her own children. Our hands would be back together. As far as lower-level carpark speeches go, it was a pretty good one.
She laughed again. ‘First of all, I don’t have a boyfriend. And I’m not getting married. I’m DEFINITELY not having kids.’
Deep down, she knows I’m right. It’s just that when you’re going on 13, an admission that a parent might know something about growing up is forbidden.
We had great fun in our movie. Sharing the same drink, demolishing the popcorn, and guessing the plot early.
As we walked back to the car, I put my arm around her. Briefly, and in part, to protect her from traffic. Old habits die hard.
She shrugged it off after a few seconds. With a laugh. Just long enough to say how much we mean to each other.
One of the tricks about being a Dad, is keeping up. Something that was fun yesterday, can be lame today. And then fun again. It’s all about listening. And getting instructions off their Facebook page.
I’ll keep trying the hand grab every now and then, just to annoy her. I don’t care how old they get. A Dad still has to have some fun.