For long stretches, the boys turned from bodies-in-motion to bodies-in-wonder as they stood out in the waves and watched the ocean water crashing in upon their legs. I’m sure they squealed at the wonder of it all, but their noises did not reach me as I sat on the sand. I marveled at the scene. The waves were powerful forces that represented equal parts wonder and danger. But the boys did not waver before the waves for they held their father’s hand.
Holding my father’s hand, I have learned that strength is both fought for (feet pounding upon pavement for miles) and received (hands open in humility). Not sought for its own sake, strength is nurtured for the process of creating something true, something beautiful, and something enduring for the world to enjoy. My father has been my gardener who cultivates within me a curiosity for life’s mysteries, appreciation for humanity’s story, and the practice of sowing kindness lavishly over all soil. I am who I am because I have held my father’s hand.
Holding my husband’s hand, I have learned that life is better lived in collaboration. Alone, I can ensure the survival of our sons. Together, we can ensure the flourishing of them. He is my partner with whom we are crazy enough to believe that we can raise these boys no matter what the day brings. He is steadfast and content in a way that tempers my intensity. He nurtures the boys’ courage to take risks and exemplifies fidelity to his commitments. Our boys are becoming who they are because they hold their father’s hands.
The waves are full of wonder and full of danger, but hand-in-hand we persist and are transformed.
For all the fathers who hold hands, I pause and give thanks.