Goose Island State Park-"Big Tree"

Goose Island State Park-"Big Tree"

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Those Little Hands

Those hands are five. Sometime, between the chubby baby fingers and what will certainly someday be graceful and lady-like, those hands turned five. As often as I possibly can, I put them in mine, I put them to my face while you sleep and look at the last remaining traces of 'little' girl there in those hands. If I look closely I can see the remnants of dimpled knuckles and rings of delightful fluff on your wrists. I can remember them clenched and bright pink, gripping a single index finger. The grip has loosened now. Peeling grape-scented nail polish attempts to cover the nails with dirt caked under them. Those hands like to dig, to trace your name in the dirt, to build sand castles and turn over seashells on the beach. Those hands pick flowers and timidly poke June bugs. Those fingers are often scraped and pricked and embedded with splinters. In a single day they can be clean and filthy and clean again. So busy-- they attempt needlepoint and sandwich-making, they have created thousands of artistic masterpieces that made you so proud. Sometimes those hands get you in trouble, don't they? Remember when they colored on the wall? Remember when they insisted on touching the wet paint in the living room? And remember when they didn't want to be held while we crossed the street? Yes, hands tend to do those things sometimes. Keep them busy with good things, little girl, so they don't get you into too much trouble.

I know they're only going to grow, but please remember to always keep them this way, okay? They won't ever be too big to hold my hand, to hold your daddy's hand. Don't worry about them getting muddy, or later, wrinkled; don't ever stop playing. And they're going to age even more with work. Don't let this scare you. The most important people will know that the age spots and wrinkles and dirty finger nails from work, from the garden, from building things in the sand, are more beautiful than a pricey manicure. Still, don't forget that it's okay to pamper them sometimes too! It's okay if they need to soak in paraffin, or to uncork a bottle of wine now and then.

Someday those little peeling grape-scented nails may get a treatment more fitting to a grown lady. Maybe someday you'll have a ring just like mine, in place of that little trinket with the pink cubic zirconium you love so dearly now. That ring will mean a lot; make sure you love the hands that give it to you more than the jewelry itself.

Someday maybe those hands will learn to be really good at something. And listen, it doesn't matter what it is. Whether they become skilled surgical instruments, or swift typing tools that transfer your thoughts to the world; whether you use them for gesturing as you speak, or keep them folded in humble prayer all your life; whether they paint or sculpt eternally, and even if they only ever do the simple tasks of preparing food, sorting laundry, wiping little baby orifices and patting little backs at all hours of the day and night; remember to put all your love into whatever they do.

Those beautiful hands are an extension of you. And today, they are five.

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