Today I was driving into work and I saw something that really just…bugged me.

No, it wasn’t the dead deer that has been sitting on the side of  the road decomposing for God only knows how long.

I saw this mother walking with her little girl. They must have been on the way to school because the little girl was all bundled up and her book bag was on her back. Since I am a school teacher myself, there doesn’t seem to be anything wrong with this picture. However, I thought there was something very wrong.

Mother and daughter were crossing a very busy street and the crossing guard just stopped the traffic so they could cross. The child was running about a few feet in front of the mother and the mother was walking and texting on her cell phone.

Sure, we all text and I don’t know the full story. Maybe the mother was texting another child or something really important. It was after all 7:30 in the morning and who else would be up that early that you wold need to text?  But, what hit me so deep was what could be so terribly important that you couldn’t just stop what you were doing to hold your child’s hand as you cross the street together?

I haven’t birthed a child, so maybe I am missing something.

I just think that kids grow up so fast…and in this day and age even faster. Soon enough there will be a time when that little girl won’t want to hold her mother’s hand as she crosses a street. Pretty soon her mother won’t be with her as she walks to school because it will be totally uncool to have your mother walk you to school. Faster then I can write this blog, that little girl won’t want her mother’s hand to hold; she will be looking to hold the hand of a boy (or another girl…I don’t judge).

One time I was hanging with my friend and we were leaving the bookstore. She had her seven year old daughter with her and we were crossing from the store to the parking lot. All of the sudden, I felt this little hand grab mine. At first I was freaked out. She had never done that to me before and I didn’t know if it was the gnomes again out and about looking to pull me down into their tiny liar of doom and gloom. I am sad to say that my first gut reaction was to pull away from her. But I didn’t. I held her hand as we crossed in the parking lot and I kept holding her hand until we reached the car. I felt honored that she thought so much of me that she wanted to hold my hand. 

Even the kids I teach will want to hold my hand for a bit. They will want to shake my hand and then I feel them hold on to it for an extra second more. What that extra second means, I will never know. Maybe it is because they think their time with me is limited and they just want to cash in on that extra second. Maybe they are letting me know that I am important to them. Maybe they just care about me.

Whatever the reasoning is, the bottom line is I do feel special and important.

I know how small that window is for kids to just be kids. They fight so hard to be grown ups and sometimes life forces them to grow up. I think we should take those small moments of time and get the most out of them. So, maybe it is just a walk to school, but does it have to be? A child’s hand is very precious because in that hand is so much hope. Why wouldn’t you want to hold onto that hope for as long as you can?