That touch meant more than just, "hey, I think I'll put my hand here."
"You'll see I'm right."
"If it's worth doing, it's worth doing right."
"Stop pulling the dog's ears."
"I told you not to go down to Ricky's house."
"Go get that hickory."
And most of the time, a guttural "aeh" accompanied the words she chose. That short, quick grumble delivered how she really felt. And then she would grab my leg, or specifically, the section just above my knee-cap, she'd squeeze in rhythm with the "aeh". I knew it was over, and I had lost the fight.
Even at 96 and her movements had dwindled, she still managed a "squeeze" and an "aeh". Her body wasn't as strong as it once was, but heavens, her hands could still grip. Whichever leg was closest, she'd grab, squeeze and grunt. She squeezed me. She squeezed her grand-daughter and her body-builder grandsons. We crumbled every time.
I miss that "aeh". There are days when life scurries on, and I hear that grunt escape from me. I can't help but snicker because I realize that there's something important about to happen. It's a signal of sorts. How can I be so much like mama? I swore I would never be.
Actually, it wasn't me. It was mama, looking down from heaven, sneaking up on me and having the last say.