When my girls were learning to walk they would hold my hand for support. Their tiny hands in mine, I would tell them that if they were unsure, scared, or if they needed me, they just needed to "squeeze twice" and I'd know to pay attention. When they started a new school, a new activity, a scary doctor's appointment, anything, I'd tell them the same, "squeeze twice," no matter how many people are around and what is going on... because I'd know what they were feeling. It was how they could tell me that they needed me without having to say a word.
Today, I picked Cate up from school and she took my hand as we started up the hill to where I was parked. We chatted about her day, she told me about her field trip, and then suddenly I felt the unmistakable two squeezes in our grip. We both smiled in the same moment as it happened. We stopped walking, I leaned over, got close to her face, and whispered, "Yes?" and she said, "I'm okay, mom. That was for you. Just in case you needed me this time."