Saturday, March 15, 2014

These Hands

(Hi everyone! This story was initially written back in 2010 when Jelly Bean was an infant. I am sprucing up some old writings, and this here sorta-new blog, as well as a couple ETA TBD blog posts. I get to hear so many wonderful stories and reflections from people's lives, and I share my own with my own friends...and I'm to the point now where I really believe that this is the sure fire way to connect with and learn from each other. Like, 200 proof. That level of sure fire. So, I share the thoughts below in hopes that some other parental types out there are encouraged in this marathon we are running.)
When I was a little girl I would lay my head on my mother's lap while we watched the evening news and she would comb her fingers through my hair. I reveled in these moments, soaking in her attention, and often I would find myself studying her hands. I noticed how soft they were, and that her fingernails were always so well manicured, and I liked to twist her wedding ring around on her finger as my little mind worked hard to make sense of the world.

For a tiny dose of perspective, my mother was younger at that time, when she had four daughters in elementary school, than I am now with my first baby girl. My mother's 30 year old hands symbolized nurture and kindness to me. And they symbolized adult-ness. Adults can't be kids anymore; they have to keep their act together and know about the world and have answers for kids' questions, etc. Children expect a lot from their parents, and the great irony is that they don't realize this until they are parents themselves.
Sometimes when I am nursing Jelly Bean, she does this thing where she delicately lays her little hand on her cheekbone, or over her eyes. Her perfect little hand, that is barely big enough yet to completely cover her temple. And when she lays her hand just so, it's more than I can bear. It just devastates me. And so, I cover her hand with my own and pray with all of my wrenching heart that I can protect her and guide her and love her the way she needs.

So, I am conflicted. Half of the time I want to be her adventurous/unpredictable Tour Guide For Life, a la Willy Wonka. And the other half of the time I just want to hold her close to my chest and stay inside the house and scream out the front door, "You can all just stay away! Nobody here has anything for you, and definitely nobody will ever be interested in leaving to adventure into the broken world which you operate and which you continue to make worse, byyyy theeee waaaayyyy!!!"
Okay, that's a lot to scream. And the sweet retired ladies who live across the street are probably the only ones who would hear me and I don't think they're making anything worse. They mostly just work in their flower gardens and make small talk with me and each other during the languid summer evenings. So, anyway...

I do realize that if we do our job, Jelly Bean will actually someday leave for her Big Adventure and we will not be invited. I will not be invited. And then probably years later on a regular day she will look down, as I have, unsuspecting, and realize, These hands look just like my mother's.

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