the one about their hands

Another night alone with the girls, thanks to an overworking husband.

The spur of the moment "I won't be home for dinner" overwhelmed me, and I felt the tears pooling beneath my eyes.

It had been a long day for the 3rd day in a row. Household chores had piled up, toys were scattered across the floor, and I had no motivation to start dinner. My toddler wanted me to play a game. My baby wanted me to pick her up. My body wanted to sit down and rest.

I felt my frustrations, on the verge of erupting, start to burn in my chest and on my face. I needed a break, and I wasn't going to get one for several more hours.

And then I saw five sparkly polished finger tips resting gently on my knee. Noelle's perfectly dimpled hand had landed on me like an unintentional feather or stray eyelash. Afraid of startling it away, I didn't move. I just looked down and attempted to memorize everything about it. The remnants of yesterday's marker project staining the valley between her thumb and index finger. Her wrist stacked with plastic bracelets in neon colors. The back of her hand smeared with strawberry chapstick.

It's so easy to say, "I don't care if my house is messy as long as my kids are having fun!" I tell myself that, too, but then it gets the best of me, and I'm ready to scream and cry and hire a maid. It is no coincidence that the plastic toy graveyard on my rug makes my skin crawl particularly on nights when my husband gets home much later than anticipated. I'm a mom. I am human. I lose it sometimes.

But looking at her hand reminded me of her innocence. It reminded me that her sweet hands placed those toys on my floor. They colored with those crayons under my kitchen table. They flipped through the pages of those books, scattered and tattered and upside down.

Her three year old hands, with no signs of aging or weathering or stress, were the culprits-- the reasons for my near-breakdown over a messy floor. And when I think of it like that, it sounds really, really silly.

I collected myself and decided to play along while Noelle gave me a check-up with her new doctor kit. She took my blood pressure, listened to my heart, took my temperature, and gave me a shot with the "shotter."

I felt much better.

And when an evening car ride yielded two sleeping beauties in the backseat, I took notice of Charlotte's precious hands as I carried her to bed.

Sticky from her strawberries at dinner, one hand rested on my arm as the other dangled limply at her side. Her sweet fingers, perfectly dimpled like her sister's, with little tufts of fuzz hooked deep in their crevices. Just enough dirt under a few of her fingernails-- enough to make a note that it would be bath time tomorrow. Buttery smooth skin. Hands too young for nail polish and too young for bracelets. Soon enough, for sure.

As I walked blindly into her dark room, I stumbled and slipped over a small plastic ball and a rogue electric toothbrush-- dropped a few hours before by those delicate hands I was just admiring.

The irony.

Their hands.
Soft and strong.
Smooth and sticky.
Destructive and healing.

All the most perfect paradoxes.

1 comment

  1. I think these same thoughts every night. No matter the day I've had, when we do our night time cuddles, I look at my little boy's hands. The strength in such tiny hands.

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