This post was originally published on February 16, 2006.
Tonight my one-year-old daughter Corrie has a cold. She was having trouble sleeping, so I had the distinct pleasure of rocking her--for a long, long time--to sleep. We sat there in the dark of her room, the rocking chair creaking slightly, her slow, even breaths a little raspy from her cold. Her head was nuzzled into my neck, and her right hand softly gripped the fabric of my shirt on my chest.
Corrie's hand. It's a plump little thing--dimpled, smooth and creamy white. I've always been fascinated by my children's hands, but tonight as I looked at Corrie's, I was overwhelmed with happiness--and a little sadness--to think of where those hands will travel. Tonight they're flawless little hands, untested by life's challenges and inexperienced in its joys. But where will those little hands go tomorrow, and the next day, and the next?...
Any day now those little hands will let go of mine as she takes her first step.
They'll grasp a pencil as she clumsily but surely learn to write.
They'll grip handlebars with a mix of joy and horror as her Daddy runs behind her on her bike, almost ready to let go.
In the teenage years those hands will wipe away many adolescent tears and slam many doors, but maybe, if I play my cards right, they'll still reach out for mine every now and then.
They'll pack her belongings as she leaves for home. And they'll open our front door again as she comes back to visit. A lot, if she knows what's good for her.
How I pray those precious hands spend more time spread open in joy, rather than clenched in anguish. But wherever they travel, I hope they're often clasped in prayer. I hope they're helpful hands, and merciful ones, and I hope they always have many, many other hands to grab onto.
They'll wear a diamond from a handsome young man, and they'll loosely hold her father's tuxedoed arm, eager to reach out for her future at the end of the aisle.
Those hands will grasp the bedsheets in pain as she fights to deliver her child, and they'll tremble in joy when she holds him or her the first time. They'll feel many little foreheads, apply many band-aids and hold open many books. And then, one night, she'll rock that baby to sleep, and she'll stare in bittersweet wonder...at its little hands.