Little fingers


Four tiny fingers wrap themselves around my index finger. The thumb completes the circle. And we’re off.

Living room. Dining room. Kitchen.

He pulls a little as we go. He sways and rocks a bit. He is steady… steadier every day. But not that steady.

I’m glad we’re down to just one hand now. Mostly. One hand most of the time. Two when he wants to go faster. And when he wants to go really fast, to chase his sister or pursue some mission he’s just identified, he drops to his knees and crawls. He knows. Crawling is still the most reliable form of locomotion.

But mostly, we’re down to one hand. As if we’re just two average people, walking down the street, hand-in-hand, out for a stroll.

boy and leaves

Except, of course, that we’re not out for a stroll. We’re walking our house in circles.

Living room. Dining room. Kitchen.

Just one hand create the illusion that I could get something done as we circle. Maybe I could sort a bit of mail as we pass that counter. Steer him past the towel where dishes have completely dried so I can put a few away. Circle by his sister so I can glance over her shoulder at the picture she is drawing or give her a quick hug. She needs me less so she gets me less but it doesn’t seem fair. And as I watch her sitting on her own, whispering quietly to herself in a game of school or house or princesses that she doesn’t want me to hear, I wonder what is happening there. Here.

But the walking continues.

Living room. Dining room. Kitchen.

The path begins to feel so tedious to me. With every circle I think over all the things I could be doing. Should be doing. I feel like I’ve worn this path into the hardwood floors because I feel like we’ve been doing this forever and will keep doing this forever and this will never end. This assisted walking. This needing me wholly and completely for everything.

But, of course, it won’t last forever. Not even a little bit.

There she sits. She got up on that high stool all by herself. And she’s drawing letters in a notebook. Soon those letters will form words that express thoughts and tell stories. Maybe, soon she won’t sit here amongst us to draw her letters, preferring, instead, the quiet and privacy of her own room.

That breaks my heart.

little girl holding mama's hand

She and I used to make these circles. A different living room. A different dining room. A different kitchen. But still, circles. Her tiny fingers used to wrap themselves around just one of mine. And we used to stroll. Just like this.

She doesn’t hold my hand as often now. Crossing the street, always. In parking lots, without question. But as soon as we step off the blacktop, it’s hands free and she’s off. And that’s ok. By that point the baby is sliding off my hip anyway and needs some adjusting.

Her fingers have grown. Now we meet palm-to-palm. And that still feels strange to me. How can her fingers wrap around more than just one of mine?

Living room. Dining room. Kitchen.

He’s just about done for this session of circles. Ready to move onto something else. The circles get tedious for him too, I suppose. It just takes longer. So he moves onto opening drawers in the kitchen. Finding his big sister to see what she’s into.

And now I’m free, for a moment, to sort the mail or put away the dishes.

But I miss those little fingers.


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