Huge hands


I grew up in the embrace of several extended families.  One of these was my godfamily.  And one of these godsisters, who lives nearby, had a baby this winter.  One February afternoon after school Grace, Whit and I stopped by.  I parked too far away so we walked several blocks in the cold, our shadows already growing long in the golden, quick-to-fall February light.  Impatient, Grace and Whit galloped away in front of me.

We tiptoed into the living room and took off our shoes.  My godmother handed the baby to me and I instinctively cradled her and looked down at her closed eyes, wrinkly skin, rosy, pouty lips.  She wore a pink knit cap, and my mind immediately pinwheeled to the cream cotton cap with curls of ribbon tied around the top that a nurse at the hospital had given Grace to wear home .

“May I hold her, Mummy?”  Out of the corner of my eye I could see Grace bouncing up and down on her toes next to me.  I remembered a Saturday walk a year ago during which I carried my friend’s two year old most of the way.  That night Grace had fallen apart, weeping inconsolably that “she wanted to be my little girl.”  Grace explained that she was sad about a time in her life that she couldn’t get back, as well as a little jealous.  I worried, as I do so often, about the sensitivity my children have inherited from me.  Whit has this tendency too.  It is perilous having a mother who is more shadow than sun.

“Sure.  Sit down here on the couch.” my godmother sat next to Grace, helped position her arms, and I slowly lowered baby C into Grace’s lap.  I stood back and looked at them, Grace and the two-day-old baby of a woman I met when she was two days old.  I took pictures of both Grace and Whit holding the newest addition to our godfamily, and then, anxious not to overstay during what I know first-hand is a raw, precious time, we left.

That night, I uploaded the three pictures I’d taken of the afternoon.  I couldn’t stop staring at the picture above.  Look at Grace’s hands: they are enormous.  They engulf the baby; she is closer to the size of an adult now than to the baby I still sometimes think of her as.  I remember our pediatrician’s words that adolescence’s growth spurts often start with feet getting rapidly bigger.  Is this true of hands, too?  Has Grace stepped into the tunnel that will spirit her, faster than I can blink, to young womanhood?

When I look at her holding the brand-new member of our godfamily, I can’t deny that the answer must be yes.

13 thoughts on “Huge hands”

  1. The hands were always what struck me, too. When I brought home my now 10 year old, I couldn’t get over the size of my older children’s hands, which looked so small only the week before.

  2. I nearly broke down crying in Old Navy last night, when I realized that my oldest baby can now fit into clothes from the ‘big girl’ section. When did that happen???

  3. Oh, I hear you. I am still squeezing Whit into a Baby Gap 5T tee shirt that I can’t bear to part because it’s the last vestiges of “baby” … sigh. I cry basically every time I fold laundry.

  4. Yes, the answer is yes. Fortunately, you already do so many of the things you need to: Take lots of photos. Write it down. Notice–as much as you can, every day.

    It will still happen when you’ve turned your head, but you’ll get to see lots of it.

  5. I know there will be a day when my son will be much bigger and much taller than I am. (My husband is very, very tall, and everyone in my family is too.) But for right now I love holding his little hands and looking at his little perfect toes.

  6. I do not leave a response, but I looked at a few of the responses here Huge hands – A Design So
    Vast. I do have a couple of questions for you if it’s allright. Could it be simply me or do a few of the responses look as if they are left by brain dead folks? 😛 And, if you are posting at additional social sites, I would like to follow you. Could you post a list of the complete urls of your social community sites like your Facebook page, twitter feed, or linkedin profile?

  7. Even as we hold tightly to them, they grow and sprout in our grasp. The other day a friend of mine returned a bag that my daughter had left at their house last summer. Inside was an outfit I hadn’t seen in almost a year. I had to stifle the sheer giddiness I felt when we discovered that it still fits.

  8. Just last weekend my 10 yr old daughter Tyler & I went to a mother/daughter workshop on puberty and the very first sign of puberty’s onset which the teacher shared was that hands and feet begin to grow alarmingly fast. As I heard this I had to smile because Tyler was sitting there next to me wearing a pair of my shoes. :-)So you are right on in your observations about Grace.
    An aside, we share a best buddy & I know we both love her dearly… childhood BFF Elizabeth Wood introduced me to your blog months back and I just wanted to tell you how much I enjoy your writing and your observations. You are speaking my world and my language. Thanks!

  9. Hi! What a small world – I’m so glad you commented. I have heard lots about Tyler. And yes, at Grace’s 10 year pediatrician appointment she mentioned hands and feet … I wrote about what seems like symbolism to me in that, growing from the ground up. I’m glad to know you are walking right there next ot me with a 10 year old. xox

  10. Ah, I still can’t believe I have a three year old. My stepson will be seven in one month. How did that happen? Life is so short, yet it can feel so long. I know that extreme sensitivity is often a burden, but it is also a beautiful quality to have. When I start feeling this way about my children growing up, or even growing up myself, I remind myself: I lived every moment to the fullest. No matter how big she gets, your daughter will always be your little girl.

  11. And I forgot to mention that along with our 10 year old daughters, like you i have an 8 year old son….. so when I say that you are speaking to my world, I really mean it. Will you promise to keep writing through all of our children’s years of adolescence? 🙂
    Take care.

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