My little boy slipped his hand in mine last night and I noticed that it was almost as big as mine. The smallest stretch of a finger separated the lengths. And my memory flashed back to images of a small hand reaching up to wrap around one or two of my fingers to receive comfort or instant balance, or just to know I was still there.
He still reaches for my hand sometimes; worn out from hiking up a long trail, or unsure of which way to go, or still just to know that I am there. And my biggest challenge in helping this once small son of mine grow into a man is balance. As I try to navigate how to give him wings and let him fly, but not too far and not too fast, just yet. I often cringe and take a deep breath when he is scaling some slippery boulder or testing his limits on a bike.
I want to give him a safety net, but I also don't want to clip his wings too much. I want him to learn courage and strength and I know that sometimes those things come from facing down something hard. But sometimes it's really hard not to want to pull my still smaller son in my arms and make the consequences go away.