A lot of people that I know love baby feet. And what’s not to love? They’re small, squishy, and don’t have all the ugly callouses from, you know, walking that the rest of us do. They make adorable footprints and have little chubby toes that might just make delicious snacks for the cannibal-minded.
Now, I have nothing against baby feet. I think they’re cute. But they are not my baby-nip of choice. For me, there is something magical about hands.
A baby’s hands are so expressive. When Oliver was a baby, I used to just watch him open and close his little fists. They communicate needs–through gripping so tightly that they can actually carry their own body weight, they communicate feelings–when Hazel gets mad she balls up her hands as a way of expressing her rage.
These days, though, I still fall in love with my kids by watching and experiencing what they do with their hands. Watching Oliver’s little boy fingers, with nails too long because he won’t let me cut them, and chipped green nail polish from the last time we all had to paint our nails our favorite colors, watching him grip a pencil as he furrows his brow and concentrates on putting pencil to paper and practices writing–I fall in love. I love that this is my little kid, and he’s getting old enough to be able to write and to be able to do, and to be excited to learn. And I love that he thinks that writing is fun, because it’s something that is inherent to who I am.
Today, we were walking home from somewhere or other, and Oliver was riding in the stroller and Hazel was walking. I have a hard and fast rule that across the major streets, Hazel has to hold my hand (not just the stroller), because she’s a fickle pickle and will just run off if something strikes her fancy. And obviously that’s not okay in the middle of the road.
As we got closer to the main intersection we had to cross, Hazel reached her hand out to me and wrapped her fingers up in mine. Her soft skin was warm, and I could feel each of her little fingers inside of mine. She gave me her hand to hold willingly, because she trusts me. She has faith that I will keep her safe. And it made me so glad to be her mommy, and want to remember that moment forever.
To add to that, tonight when I tucked Hazel in, she reached her arms up and encircled my neck and pulled my face close to hers. She tangled her fingers up in my hair and said, “I love you forever.”
I love those kids so much that it makes me cry when I think about it too hard. I have to break it down into more manageable bits–like individual body parts–to even think about communicating those feelings into anything other than a blubbery mess on paper-mache. And so I can’t wait to see where life takes these two little humans I get to have in my life, and to watch their hands grow and develop and help form them into whatever they become.