My grandfather used to tell me that the moment he knew my grandmother was for him is when she kissed his the back of his hand. He described this moment as more intimate then anything he had ever felt. He was a Mason, a trade learned by his father. My grandfather built most the stone walls you see in New Cannan CT. They are easy to spot, becuse his work never crumbled.
The trade weathered and calloused his hands. On a date with my grandmother he noticed how tough and strong she was. It's funny, my grandmother was a lot like the walls he built. Dynamic, forceful, beautiful and whole. She could seem cold on the outside, but she was filled with warmth. She took his hand on a particular evening and felt his worn, tough, rough skin. Studying the feel of it in quiet for a moment before gently pressing a kiss to the back of it.
My grandfather described the moment as if she had spoken everything he needed to hear without saying it. I appreciate you. I see you. I know how hard it has been for you. I understand you. I want you and most of all, I thank God for you.
That was the moment, that was the moment he knew. Ofcourse, my grandfather, was pretty candid about what a player he was but Marie was the one who changed it all.
I never fully understood the intamcy of a kiss on the hand, and until my present relationship. I have never granted one. With Colin it has happened numerous times. Mainly after an arguments. The kind where no one wants to admit we're wrong. We break this by reaching for the others hand. I don't think we have ever declined that gesture. But often after being hand in hand I realize how much we go through together, for one another. I realize that together we are stronger. And I kiss that hand because I appreciate him in every way. I kiss his hand becuse at that moment in time we don't need words. I kiss his hand so I can selfishly apologize without having to admit that I'm sorry for all the things I put us through. And because he, himself is absolutely perfect with his flaws.
Yet there are times too when I see how tired he is and I the habit creeps in again. I find myself wanting to kiss away the exaughstion like a mother would to heal a scrape or burn. I do it just out of wishing I could do more.
Then there are the times where I look at him and my heart swells with love and happiness, in a way I cannot describe at all. And it is a moment he can't even see, because he hasn't done anything different. It is a moment where I thank God for blessing me with this man and bringing him in my life. And kiss his hand again as a promise to God that I will take care of this precious creation and gift. I kiss that hand because I cherish it.
So to my grandfather and my grandmother... I finally understand.