Your Hands Are Small, I Know


Photography by Anna Wamsted

I’m a goner.

It all started with our church service on Christmas morning. Innocent enough, right?

But in between singing “O Come All Ye Faithful” and hearing one of three Christmas sermonettes, I glanced down at Bug sitting beside me doodling a rocket to the moon and was suddenly and violently aware of the smallness of his hands.

And how the smallness of his hands yesterday morning was nothing compared to the smallness of his hands seven years ago. Or even last year, for that matter.

As he gripped his pencil, his left hand splayed out across the page, twisting and turning the paper as his imagination explored and mapped the “eye of the moon,” I couldn’t help but reach down and fold my fingers around his, our palms nearly the same size, my grasp in mourning, his impatient.

A boy, growing impossibly fast, with no signs of slowing down, the only signs a sharpening wit, a pair of shoes a hair’s width smaller than mine, a vanishing lisp fading away with each permanent tooth emerging.

My boy. My baby. My firstborn.

Every parent will tell you that the days are long, but the years are lightning fast. That’s on Page One of the handbook the nurses send you home with after giving birth.

One minute you are rocking a newborn to sleep at three in the morning, foolishly longing for the day when that baby sleeps through the night (as if that automatically means you will, too). And then you blink, rubbing the sleep from your eyes just in time to catch a glimpse of the seven-year-old karate chopping his way up the stairs to take his evening shower, brush his teeth, and read himself a chapter of The Hardy Boys before a brief kiss and an afterthought for his mom.

The boy who spent his entire first night home from the hospital cradled in my arms. The boy who didn’t nap anywhere but against my chest until preschool broke him of that glorious habit. The boy who nestled snugly against my hip, who fit neatly beneath my arm, who tucked in effortlessly within my heart.

The boy who kicks off the blankets, who is too old to slip into the bed between Mom and Dad, who doesn’t need naps, just a juice box and a tree to climb, who asked Santa for a microscope and a pair of rollerblades, whose head reaches up to my chin, whose socks I sometimes confuse with my own, whose hands are a breath away from being larger than mine as he draws rockets to the moon.


A goner.



Filed under Parenting

19 responses to “Your Hands Are Small, I Know

  1. Quite a lovely post, Jess! You have such a way with words. Beautiful descriptions of days gone by and wonderful memories.

  2. Beautiful and true, Jess. Your writing reminds me of one of the lines from an e.e. cummings poem: “nobody, not even the rain, has such small hands.”

  3. Yeah, well…. My oldest is 18, a college freshman, and he just got a seasonal retail job for the holiday season. Good stuff, except that meant he was working and couldn’t join us on our annual trek back “home” (we moved 1000 miles from family 8 years ago, still go back every year.) So, we were sitting in church on Christmas eve and he wasn’t there. Opening presents Christmas morning, he wasn’t there…. We did skype with him yesterday during the big family Christmas dinner, and he’ll fly in tomorrow to join us for the rest of the week. Been a weird week for us, even more so for him, I’m sure.

    Yes, the days are long, but the years are definitely lightning fast. Enjoy the moments, as they are definitely fleeting.

  4. This won’t happen to mine though, right?

  5. Oh Jess! Yes! Yes! You got it.

    Also you must be really short. 😉

  6. I know how you feel, my baby turned 18 this year. Where did all the years go?

  7. EllieAnn

    When I was pregnant, everyone told me to enjoy the time that I had with my babies, that it went by so quickly. I didn’t believe them.
    Now I believe them. Life is like a mist, here today…gone tomorrow.
    Beautiful post.

  8. I don’t have kids but this got to me. Ooooo, you’re good.

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