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ESSAY Text Thomas Lloyd Qualls Notes on Important Things or The Art of Holding Hands Sometimes my son spontaneously holds my hand. We might be getting out of the car and starting to walk towards a café or a store or summer day camp. And he will just slip his hand into mine, of his own volition. And then really hold it like he means it. Until we cross a threshold into the place where he and his attention are captured by something else, and he is off. Or maybe he'll give me a hug. Or make a small piece of art just for me. Or leave me a scribbled note in my bag. Or write in the dust on my car window. (Yes, my car windows are often that dirty. But I have at least three jobs if you count parenting, so maybe cut me a little slack.) What I mean to say here is there is nothing like that feeling. Like your hand being held by a smaller hand. A hand that happens to belong to someone you helped bring into this world. Someone you are charged with guiding through its storms and sun. These are the things. The things that are unlike any other things. Let me add this. My son has never been an easy kid. In addition to a bright mind and a generous heart, he has an oversized will, forged of absolutely unbreakable stuff. Japanese steel, I’m pretty sure. And though he is kind of a little guy, nothing else about him is small. His curiosity, his exuberance, his energy, his personality, his voice. He questions everything. And he has a surplus (not a deficit) of attention. Pretty much all the time. Also, even as a baby, he did not want to be swaddled, or held too long. He was

46 Reno Tahoe Tonight

restless for adventure from the moment he took on this breath we share. All of which, I hope with everything inside me, will make him an amazing adult. His indomitable will. His keen eye for justice. His inability to take anyone’s word for almost anything, without his specialized peer review. Most days he is a jaguar trapped in a living room, as Greg Brown would say. All of which is to also say that raising him, trying to shepherd him through the world, has been a bumpy road. When the simple act of brushing teeth before bed can take 45 minutes, even Mary Poppins might unravel a little. There are days, of course, when I want to give up. When I am convinced beyond doubt that he has chosen the wrong father. That the fabric I am made of is not the kind that is strong enough to hold him. That my box was damaged in transport (you know the kind that arrive with aftermarket tape holding them together) and I am now missing critical parts of the intricate machinery of fatherhood that were supposed to be included. amazing adult. His indomitable will. His keen eye for justice. His inability to take anyone’s word for almost anything, without his specialized peer review. Most days he is a jaguar trapped in a living room, as Greg Brown would say. All of which is to also say that raising him, trying to shepherd him through the world, has been a bumpy road. When the simple act of brushing teeth before bed can take 45 minutes, even Mary Poppins might unravel a little. There are days, of course, when I want to give up. When I am convinced beyond doubt that he has chosen the

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October 2018 Digital RTT  

Thank you for your support of RTT. This is our final issue. To all of our readers, we love you!

October 2018 Digital RTT  

Thank you for your support of RTT. This is our final issue. To all of our readers, we love you!

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