Elie and I are hand holders when we walk together. Since we are walking around Tel Aviv all day, we are holding hands a lot. This first week here we are doing everything together, shopping for sheets and towels, dishes, pots and pans, exploring the new school and neighborhood. We are just trucking down the tree lined sidewalk, hand in hand.
Handholding is lovely. It is reassuring and loving. We instinctively hold hands crossing the street. It provides a sense of mutual safety. Handholding in the metaphorical sense isn't so positive. When one needs handholding at a job or task, it is because they can't figure out how to do it themself. It doesn't mean they don't have good support around them, it means they lack a sense of self and self reliance to navigate through it.
After dropping the kids off at camp last week, it has been like a honeymoon with the time we have just the two of us. I think about the kids a lot. I am sure they are experiencing a wide range of feelings with their time on their own. I can't hold their hands through it, but the self reliance they will gain is the benefit of going away and getting through whatever they may be dealing with. I hope they make it to the finish line so they can feel that sense of accomplishment.
Maybe our families have a similar feeling about our time “away” in Tel Aviv. They can't hold our hands here, but maybe hope we will gain our own sense of accomplishment and self reliance that comes from walking a little farther in the distance.