We’re swaying to the steady rhythm of the rocking chair, a nestled buoy bobbing with the current. My sweet baby boy, how you’ve already changed so much in these few short months. It’s in this chair that time seems to freeze and fly in varying waves of realization. Breaking free from the blanket in a gentle act of rebellion, your hands reach for me. They’re dimpled, tiny, and perfect. They’re the simplest marker of time, your hands.
Those hands that splayed your fingers wide and long as the doctor pulled you from my body. I’ll never forget, against all the drugs working through my veins for the surgery, the clarity in which I saw those hands. Those hands that searched and reached for my face when finally . . . finally, they brought you to me on the operating table. How long your fingernails were on those wrinkly hands! Already I miss those hands.
Those hands that were clenched fists during the first weeks. Struggling with feedings and trying to get to know one another, your hands acted as my indicator of when you were full. I’d carefully watch those hands tighten and relax and felt reassured we’d be OK. They sometimes made me nervous, those hands.
Newborn you would squeeze your daddy’s finger with those hands. I’d watch as his eyes lit up and his heart swelled to twice its size each time you grabbed with those little hands. Slowly, they learned how to explore your face and my hair and the dog . . . so primitive and yet so engaged were those hands.
Now you’re seven months old, and I wish we could slow down, baby boy. Each day you amaze me, along with those hands. They’re a fast-paced succession of exploration, constantly reaching and grasping. You light up as you learn to wave, to sign, to communicate with those hands. And yet, this is just the beginning.
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As we rock together and your eyes become heavy, I think about the future of those hands.
Hands that will make colorful art, covered in paint.
Hands that will play in the dirt and pull long, juicy earthworms from the ground.
Hands that will sometimes hit and push and refuse to share.
Hands that will wrap around us in tight hugs.
Hands that will write your sweet little name on the top right corner of a piece of paper.
Hands that will play catch with your big brother and daddy.
Hands that will come together in prayer before bed each night.
Hands that will make friends, with an initial high five or fist bump.
Hands that will one day grow the courage to call (or text) a girl.
Hands that will learn the meaning of hard work and one day find their purpose in this life.
Hands that are no longer dimpled and tiny but will always be perfect to me. Son, you won’t always reach for me in the dead of night. I won’t always be your buoy to steady the current. But know this, I will always, ALWAYS love you and those hands.