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Archive for December, 2015

“Okay, sweetie. Grab ahold of the handle and we’ll go.” I hadn’t seen the routine before, but it was obvious the participants had it down pat. The “sweetie” was my almost-3 year-old daughter. The “handle” was the hammer loop on my husband Mark’s jeans. Naya navigated readily to my husband’s side, grabbed the sturdy loop sewn to his left pants leg, and off they went through the store aisles.

hammer loop croppedAs I strolled along with them, I marveled at the simple ingenuity of their system and how well it suited both of their needs. Naya had a way to stay connected with her daddy, her security. Mark had a way of knowing—without even looking—if our daughter was still close by. Whenever they stopped to examine an item, she could let go if she wanted. But when it was time to move on, they reconnected so they wouldn’t lose each other.

From my vantage point behind them, I snapped a quick photo of the intrepid pair, these two loves of my life. Since then, I’ve found myself drawn to the image over and over again. It’s cute, and resourceful, and sweet. But as I’ve looked at it longer, I’ve found deeper symbolism, too.

We all need something or someone to hang on to. Our loved ones. Our friends. Our faith. Our knowledge, and our beliefs. We have a very human need for a sense of security: emotionally as well as physically. We need to know someone cares, and we need to know certain things matter. For a toddler, his or her parents are that security. Naya needs to know that when she is with us, she can trust us to guard her spirit and her safety.

We don’t just need something to hang on to, though. I believe our lives are meaningful when we know someone is depending on us, too. I’m not just speaking of the kind of dependence children have on their parents. No, we need to know that what we do as we move through life matters to someone beyond us. We need to feel our work—whether it is paid or unpaid—matters. We need to know someone cares that we are here, cares about what we do, and is thankful and appreciative that we do it.

My husband’s hammer loop is a symbol of this vital two-way connection. In the enormous, bustling department store of life, my daughter has a strong, reliable handle to hang on to. While she’s hanging on, Mark can feel the steady tug that reminds him someone is depending on him. It’s okay if Naya lets go now and then, but she needs to know the handle is always there. Likewise, Mark thrives on the certainty that she needs him.

Who or what is your hammer loop? And who is hanging onto yours?

 


 

This post also appeared as the “Stray Kernels” column in the December 2015 issue of DeKalb County Farm Bureau’s Connections magazine.

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