When walking with my daughters, all I need to do is put out my hands and I get an automatic hand-hold from both of them.
They aren't little angels that never get into mischief and always answer with a "Yes, ma'am" or "Yes, father." They are angels in my eyes, but still average little American girls in most every way. They do, however, still want to hold their daddy's hand, in most cases.
I've seen evidence this, one of the things that can make my day on most any day, is coming to an end. The youngest is only five-years old, so I have several more years of hand holding with her, but her sister is nine.
The evidence of hand-hold apprehension was minimal, but detectable. Recently, at the grocery store near her school, where the probability of bumping into her friends was heightened, I put out my hand as we crossed the street. Could've been a mere oversight on her part, but, to my surprise and a little confusion, there was no hand-in-return. It took an "Uh, hello" prompt to get an "Ooops" and a hand in return. I thought little of it at the time.
Later, however, I recalled that, as I had walked her down the sidewalk of her school in the mornings, for at least half the year, she hadn't held my hand. Could've been mere coincidence and her hands may have been full on at least 100 occasions.
"Could've beens" notwithstanding, the probability is that The Daddy Years will soon come to an end. At least there's enough time for me to learn to advance to the next level of fatherhood, whatever that may be.