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Just a Guy Who Misses Holding Hands

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For every one of the stages I don't miss are those that I actually long for.

Bruce Sallan: The other night, my wife and I were in a restaurant, no kids, and we heard a little boy laughing uproariously. He was giggling while he watched a little wind-up toy jump and flip in front of him. His youngish parents were enjoying his pleasure and delight, and I found myself equally caught up in the spirit.

child holding father's hand

But it also created a moment of melancholy as I reflected on how so many of those childhood joys were over with my boys. Now, honestly, there are many of those so-called passages that I certainly don't miss. First on that list is the smell of baby wipes, and everything else that went with the diaper, poop, and changing stages. For years after they were toilet-trained, I'd get a whiff of those smells, out of thin air, and breathe a sigh of relief that that phase was over.

For every one of the stages I don't miss are those, like in the restaurant, that I actually long for. Like when my boys would reach up and grab ahold of my hand. When walking hand-in-hand was special to them, even when they were so small that their arms were stretched up to reach my hand. I contrast that with my teen now, looking down on me, as I shake my finger up at him and announce "you're grounded."

If we've done our jobs right, this is exactly what is supposed to happen. But, darn if I don't miss the kisses and hugs they're just too old to give me anymore. Call me sentimental, even if I'm just a guy.

next: Jackson's Body Moved from Coroner's Office
18 comments so far | Post a comment now
Wendi June 27, 2009, 10:21 AM

That is so sweet! I know my husband is the same way. We have a almost 3 yr old and then 12 and 14. He cherrishes every moment of the little guy as do I because we know only to well how fast it all really does go by.

shea June 27, 2009, 1:51 PM

awww i kno i love how my lil boy gives me hugs and kisses now [hes 2] and that sooner or later itll be “uncool” sigh not lookin forward 2 it lol!

denise June 28, 2009, 11:48 AM

Well, Bruce, now I’m completely confused. You post blogs about being a selfish parent, about sex and male nature, Internet Dating, etc. yet now you post a weepy blog that almost brought me to tears. C’mon, which is it? Cynic or sap?

Bruce Sallan June 28, 2009, 5:21 PM

Denise, Denise - Do you really want me to be so predictable!? Maybe next week’s blog will revert to the cynical man I can sometimes be? We’ll see. In the meantime, my new Web Site is UP:, and I hope everyone will check it out. Cool stuff; not the typical writer’s site, by a long shot. Momlogic will update my bio to include it, but those of you reading this comment can get an early look!

David June 29, 2009, 6:01 AM

I tried posting a comment a day or two ago but I received a submission error prompt each of the 3-4 times I sent. So this is a test; if this goes thru, I will post.

David June 29, 2009, 6:32 AM

OK, it appears that the system is cooperating! So…OUTSTANDING blog entry! I actually would like to hear a few more of what Bruce recalls about avenues of connection with his sons that, as his boys have aged, no longer play a part in his interaction with them. I myself don’t have kids, so I related to the blog entry not from the dad’s p.o.v. but from a kid’s. I still have the muscle memory of my hand holding and being held by my dad’s. I also can still feel his thick dark hair, slightly slick with natural oil (he had an aversion to shampooing more than a time or two per week), which I would grasp as one might the reins of a horse, when he rode me on his shoulders when I was very young. I also remember telling Dad when I was about 7 or 8, “Cowboys don’t kiss their daddies,” as I, dressed in my cowboy outfit (chaps, toy guns, cowboy hat), explained why I wasn’t going to kiss him any more. “No, even cowboy daddies and sons kiss each other, they just don’t show it on t.v.,” he replied reasonably.

Bruce Sallan June 29, 2009, 10:57 AM

Gee, David, I thought I was the one that was supposed to make the reader cry (occasionally)! Lovely comment; thanks for not giving up on posting it and thanks for sharing.

Amy Jussel  July 2, 2009, 4:40 PM

I’ve just stumbled upon Bruce’s work here, and reading his bio blurb about giving up his career to raise his kids is giving me flashbacks of that Jerry McGuire movie line when Renee Zellweger says, “you had me at hello.”

Poignant prose on poppahood here, I’m so glad gents are beginning to express themselves in this manner. (I’m a big fan of Joe Kelly who writes about Dads & Daughters and their special bond too!)

Also glad to see he now has someone to hold hands with again. Sounds like he deserves it. Can’t wait to read more…

Pikeprincess July 3, 2009, 9:58 AM

This is such a great article! I have 2 sons, 2 and 9 months, I cherish EVERY little moment with them because I know that time flies. Before I know it I will be having those your grounded moments and I will long for these days. But I also believe that every stage is one to be cherished! Thanks for sharing.

kathy July 9, 2009, 1:30 AM

The hugs and kisses come back. I remember my four-year old daughter, reaching up, grasping my hand - we were invincible. When she was 14, I was an embarrasement to her, when she was 24 or 25 we walked on the beach and down the street, holding hands. Now, she is 40 years old and I think she is my mentor. I love this child with all my heart and soul. Call me sentimental, even if I’m just a gal.

jones March 28, 2011, 5:55 PM April 20, 2011, 6:38 PM

Post_12.. Peachy :) April 22, 2011, 2:21 AM

Post_12.. Peachy :) May 7, 2011, 12:35 AM

Post_12.. Dandy :) June 2, 2011, 8:18 PM

Post_12.. Huh, really? :) June 3, 2011, 12:01 AM

Post_12.. Peachy :) June 4, 2011, 8:38 PM

Post_12.. Outstanding :) June 5, 2011, 12:19 AM

Post_12.. Tiptop :)

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