Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Those hands

My father has big, thick, wide, meaty hands. One of them can wrap up your hand and make you feel safe and loved. I have memories of my youth, memories in which my little hand was swaddled in his. Daddy’s capable hands could play the rhythms of my childhood on his guitar, turn pages in my bedtime storybook or help me put on my snow boots. Even now I love watching one of those big hands pet a dog, because it rubs the dog's head and ears messily all over, the dog leaning into the tender tousling.

I left home almost 25 years ago. Then I got married and had children. Those big hands cradled my newborns and caressed their fuzzy little heads, then held my todders’ hands as they set off on preschooler adventures like a trip to the park. Now those hands grip growing shoulders as he hugs my teenagers. I still love when I get to see those hands every few months, even hold one now and again. 

Last night, after saying goodbye to my husband as he headed off to a conference, the kids and I had a passionate conversation in the car. In that conversation there were deep emotions, raw feelings. As the conversation dwindled, I felt such conflicted emotion over my children’s process of sorting out their evolving relationships and changing social connections and trying not to hurt each other, even though the hurting seems inevitable in these connections bound by such strong love.

Then something magical happened: a big, thick, wide, meaty hand found mine. It wrapped up my hand just like my father’s used to. It used to be a chubby little mitt, this hand, and now it’s the hand of my father, the hand of a man.

And my heart swelled with pride and love and pain: Pride because he is a gentle, funny, capable, caring, smart and sensitive young man who still wants to connect with me by holding my hand. Love because how could a mother do anything else? And pain because of the process. It's the joyous pain of time passing and transformation and being both a daughter and a mother, of seventeen years that went by in the blink of an eye, and my son’s hand becoming my father’s.   

1 comment:

  1. {tears}. Yup. Had one of my own moments a few weeks back when I witnessed one of my kids 'growing up'. It's hard not to cry when we see them getting bigger and yet still remember them as holding our hands and learning to walk. Time slips by, as you said, in the blink of an eye.