Finger, Hand


The first time I held Archer, seconds after he was born, he took hold of my pinky. With his whole hand, he squeezed so tight. So tiny. It was the very first moment we saw each other. Face to face. Our eyes locked. He squeezed harder. I remember thinking, how strong you are, little baby. Because it almost hurt.

I remember feeling so taken by the tightness of his grasp. The miracle of a human so small, once on the inside, now out. In the world. Squeezing. Too small to wrap his hand around anything but my finger. My smallest finger.

It was a reflex, they told me. Hold your pinky out and he will grab on. He won't let go. And he didn't. And I didn't want him to.

And sometimes he held my ring finger. Or my pointer finger or my thumb. And when he was learning to walk he would hold two fingers, one from each hand and I'd say, "come on! You can do it!" and he'd smile and fall on his face, his hands slipping from my fingers...

...Until he grabbed on again. Pulling himself back up. "Hold on tight!"


Today, for the first time, Archer didn't want to take my finger. We were walking down the stairs outside our house and instead of grabbing my finger, he took my hand. My whole hand. So our palms were against each other and our fingers met and we continued down the stairs. For the first time, hand in hand.

Because I think maybe his hand was too big for fingers. Because he is too big for fingers. Today he was.

He doesn't have the finger-grabbing reflex anymore. It goes away when they get big. I know because night after night I put my finger in his hand and wait for it to wrap around me like a sea anemone and it doesn't. The finger reflex goes away. This is what I've been told. Just like the startling reflex when babies raise their hands and shake their arms when they're sleeping and someone makes a loud sound.

I remember how one day, it stopped. And he woke up instead.

I can't believe how quickly it happens. The change. Of size and smell and instinct. I can't believe that yesterday Archer was holding my finger and today he took my hand. And then he took it again. My hand. And again...

And already I mourn the day he will grow out of that as well. Just like I did. Swatting my mother's hand from mine because I wanted to cross the street myself.


But for now, at least I have his hand. And the memories of those early days. When my finger was so big. When he had no choice but to hold on and not let go.

GGC

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21 comments:

K | 6:32 AM

Thus is the weird cycle of life... you want so badly for them to be on their own and then when they are, it hurts, just a little.

I'm learning (this time around) not to complain about how things are -- because I learned all too quickly -- they don't last that long... and I might sort of miss them.

Rock the Cradle | 7:32 AM

The feel of that little hand in mine will be short lived, and I can't help missing it already. Sometimes it's a real challenge to keep in the moment, and appreciate that little grip as much as I can, right now.

Her Bad Mother | 8:04 AM

Oh, clutching - CLUTCHING - at my heart.

So wonderfully, painfully, brilliantly bittersweet.

Kate Ryan | 8:32 AM

Sniff! My "baby boy" is now 14! God, I remember that finger grip as if it were yesterday! I also have a 12 year old daughter. Daughters really do get closer to their mothers as they become united in womanhood--and sons really do break away from their mothers as they learn to assert their manhood. Now my son is taller than me, has enormous feet (size 10), and his hands are huge compared to mine. My daughter is all filled out and wears the same size shoes(8) and bras(34 B) as I do!! But I will NEVER forget that feeling of their tiny hands wrapped around my finger! :) Brings tears to my eyes!

Joker The Lurcher | 8:56 AM

mine too is big. but i explain to him that i am still a fussy mum and he must just humour me!

Mamma | 9:50 AM

Stop it! You're going to make me lactate!!!

I've really been fighting the urge to have another. It's just so tempting...especially remembering those days...

Stephanie T. | 9:52 AM

Awwww....such a sweet post.

ECR | 10:53 AM

You are officially the first person to make me want to have another baby, now. (I've always known I want another one, but I had no problem waiting). I think it was the reference to the startling instinct that did it. I can still see The (newborn) Boss in that little baby spasm whenever the shopping cart went over a bump.

My husband is not going to appreciate this.

ECR | 10:57 AM

You are officially the first person to make me want to have another baby, now. (I've always known I want another one, but I had no problem waiting). I think it was the reference to the startling instinct that did it. I can still see The (newborn) Boss in that little baby spasm whenever the shopping cart went over a bump.

My husband is not going to appreciate this.

ECR | 11:09 AM

You are officially the first person to make me want to have another baby, now. (I've always known I want another one, but I had no problem waiting). I think it was the reference to the startling instinct that did it. I can still see The (newborn) Boss in that little baby spasm whenever the shopping cart went over a bump.

My husband is not going to appreciate this.

Andy | 11:53 AM

It's amazing how much he looks like his newborn self still. And too funny - I used my pinky pic today too.

It breaks my heart to say goodbye those little things they grow out of. I miss her mispronunciation now that she's learned how to say certain words correctly.

But there are so many new things to look forward too now - just think of all the things he's going to pick up in the next year, and beyond. It's sad at the same time, but amazing to watch them learn and grow.

Domestic Chicky | 11:55 AM

I feel your pain...I look so forward to the boys getting older, yet at the same time I miss desperately what has passed.

Anonymous | 12:00 PM

Great Writing. I enjoyed that story and it pains my heart, for my own 3 1/2 year old son, will not give me a kiss in front of anyone ANYMORE. He says they laugh at him, who says they laugh at him, he does. SNIFF they don't stay our babies for long, and then before I know it, he'll be kissing his wife!!! I need to stop
Kim

GIRL'S GONE CHILD | 2:23 PM

Oh man. I will die when that day comes. I'll drop dead.

Kristen | 10:00 PM

You made me cry. Leah has been a hand holder for a few months now- and it breaks my heart when she wants to "do it herself" and shrugs off my hand. I don't know what I'll do when she refuses altogether.

barbara rushkoff | 11:47 AM

Looking at that first pic - can you ever believe he was that small? Amazing. Also, you are a super cute mom!

Kell | 1:30 PM

Oh so sweet and sad.

(must say I was thrown a bit by the pic above me, lost my thread now!!!! LOL)

I love the hand holding. I have many photos of Sylvie holding Dadddy's hand while I walk behind them. The huge difference in height.
For now, I have Sonny's little grasp on my finger and I am making the most of it.

Shannon | 10:09 PM

Beautiful post Rebecca. It reminded me of why I am suffering through all of this nasty morning sickness again. It will all be worth it for the sweet little "death grip". We have the sweetest B&W pic of Caleb clenching to hubby's pinky while the nurses are cleaning him up after the birth. It makes me cry everytime I see it.

AdventureDad | 1:57 AM

Beautiful post. I think it's so funny that we can't wait until our kids grow up and when they do we want them small and cute again.

AD

Jenn | 5:38 AM

Very touching and what an adorable first pic! Got to be honest, one of the first things that came to my mind: Oh my god. She was still able to wear her wedding band! lol

The Mad Momma | 2:59 AM

oh.. that was beautiful... time flies... and all the rest of the cliches.. but so true. the last time i wrote a post abt my 20 month old moving to his own room and how much it hurt, the indian blogosphere smacked me in the face with their nastiness! i am so happy to see so many others relating to the feeling...