I look up as my legs move along the length of the treadmill, over and over.
I look up at the screen that holds my attention long enough that I am willing and even enjoy subjecting my body to the dreaded exercise that it seems to need.
I watch as yet another young Duggar girl gets engaged and her family is joyful and there is a celebration planned.
A part of me, the cynical part, the part that dismisses different takes a moment to mock, silently, their ways of dating.
In particular the fact that they wait until they are engaged to hold hands.............to hold hands.
Ridiculous, I think.
But then I remember that there is no harm being done, in this idea of waiting. It's just a difference and to mock a difference makes me a bit ridiculous. So I correct my thinking and am happy for them, in the moment, as my legs move the length of the treadmill and life goes on and the Duggars wed and I finish the exercising of my increasingly, creeping towards aging body.
Just that same week.
My hand is down and I am with my youngest and we are walking into the library of her choice. It has been months since we have been to the library. A once weekly ritual of the stay at home mom has been replaced by school and the many activities of school-aged children. And so it was a request made of my youngest on her weekend with mama that we go to her favorite library - the one downtown with puppets and pretend play and lots and lots of books.
My hand is down.
I reach towards her and we clasp hands.
Something that used to be a given, an every second occurrence as I herded young children here, there and everywhere.
But in that moment I grab her hand and it's almost electric.
I remember that impact of a held hand and memories flood my mind.
It has been forever since my children needed a hand held. Now they skip and run and walk forward or, in the case of my youngest, linger behind - stopping to notice everything, often wearily and dramatically sighing her discontent at the requirement she move her legs.
But I remember.
I remember the trips to the grocery store where old ladies would stop and stare and comment and smile and sigh and say, "You certainly have your hands full." I would smile and something along the lines of how wonderful they were and how I love to have them with me or that they are such a help and we would continue on our way.
I remember parking lots where my hands, indeed, would always be full as we would link hands and walk safely and slowly to the car.
I remember library visits of children piled on top of me as we would read for almost an hour all the new books we would find. We would delight in finding books that were a bit naughty, a bit funny and we would laugh out loud and put them in our bag to show daddy when he got home.
I remember trips to the museum where we would wear thin the same path. Being members for eight years ensures that rarely is anything new but always it would be worth a stop to let legs stretch, to climb down the firemen's pole, watch the train go 'round and maybe if there was some spare change watch it go down the vortex or buy a treat at the vending machine afterwards.
It was the four of us.
And I think........................maybe the Duggars aren't so crazy.
This hand holding thing?
I didn't quite realize how much so until the day it seemed to stop.
I have a bit of time with the last, the still baby of the family.
I am not sure how long, though.
The hand holding days are fading.
Somehow I missed the passing of this habit, I let it.......shall we say, slip through my fingers.
Perhaps now I will lag behind with the youngest more often. I will hold her hand, not to catch her up but to slow her down.
I will savor my full hands.
And not think of the day when they will be empty.