I went to bed the other night holding my daughter’s hand. She was snuggled up next to me, fingers interlaced in mine. I can remember when those fingers were just barely big enough to wrap around my extended index finger. They were so small and appeared so fragile, but they gripped my finger and my heart with such fierceness that it surprised me. I can remember when those fingers spread out across my palm, barely taking up a fourth of it. She would wiggle those chubby little things, pat my open hand and grin gleefully.
I can remember when those little fingers would reach up and stroke my cheek as she nursed. Soft and feather like, they would linger just for a moment before reaching out for my own hand, to curl hers contentedly around. I can remember when those little fingers would wrap around the first two fingers on each of my hands. She would hold on as tight as possible for pulling from me strength and support, while standing triumphantly on skinny wobbly legs.
I can remember when those little fingers let go of mine for the first time; leaving a feeling of coldness in their absence. I held my breath as she took her first few independent steps. I can remember those same fingers pushing me away when I rushed to scoop her up and help her stand again. I can remember her hand in mine palm to palm, fingers stretched as far as they could to match mine; growing. I can remember when those fingers became long enough to reach the end of my palm; I could still just barely bend my fingers and capture her wiggling hand, making her giggle.
I can remember when those hands began to spend more time holding toys and dollies than they did holding my hand. I can remember when those fingers, longer and stronger, yet still so small wrapped around a pencil, and drew out her name in long shaky letters. I can remember when those fingers reached for mine, warm and sweaty, now almost half the size of my own hand. She squeezed mine tightly, and whispered, “Will you remember to pick me up?” I smiled and nodded reassuringly, and watched her walk into her first day of school.
It was in the quiet moments lying in that bed with her, I realized there will come a day when I can’t remember the last time I got to hold her hand. She will have grown; her hand as big if not bigger than mine. That day looms ahead of me, so near and so far, filling me with hope and sadness. There will still be those occasional moments, where as an adult, she may reach for my hand, holding tightly, drawing strength and support, just as they did when she was learning to stand on her own.
There will be a day when she will have other hands to hold. Hands that are her equal, her match, her mate. Hands that are smaller than hers and that will capture her finger and heart in one single squeeze, as hers did mine. And there will be a day, when my hand will no longer be there for her to hold.
That day is coming, not just for me, but for all of us who have little hands to hold. But for now, remember the moment you held their hand last, and how their fingers, growing longer and stronger by the day, twisted into your. For now, while you have their hands to hold make the most of every opportunity! Take those hands into yours and savor those moments; so when the days come that their hands are too busy for yours, you will have plenty to remember them by.
Hi, I’m Sherry, a 30 year old married mama of two, ages 6 and 4. I’m a registered nurse and serve on the board for the Down Syndrome Group of the Ozarks. I love to spend time doing crafts and messy activities with my kids. We love going fishing as a family. In the small amount of free time I have, I often write about the more humorous side of parenting, share some of the activities that we’ve enjoyed the most and talk about raising a child with Down syndrome. I share all of this on my blog, Hand Me Downs.