Your Lovely Hands

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Today is October 25, 2011. The small ticker on the side of my page tells me it’s been 10 months, 1 week, and 5 days since we said goodbye.
It’s difficult to conceptualize what you have been doing in this time.
I’ve been mourning your fingers. Those tiny little appendages which could be clinging onto mine right now.
Your fingernails would be clean, with moon-shaped beds. I would be tempted to polish them, even at only 10 months old. You have to forgive me; I have never been the mother of a baby girl before. I was so looking forward to caring for your fingernails.
You would have had dimples in your hands. They would be plump and sweaty. They would grab onto things that they shouldn’t be. Then they would hold tightly when I tried to take those things away.
All of my children show strong tempers, so it would become a battle of wills to remove anything you really wanted to hold on to.
I guess that’s kind of how I feel about you.
I should be holding your hands as you toddled around. You would wrap your little fingers around mine, hefting your weight as you take tentative steps- pulling your knees up high and setting your feet down softly, unsure of where you are taking yourself.
But then I remember- even if you were here, there would never be any first steps for you. Doctors called it sacral agenesis. I called it perfection.
Your hands worked just fine though. You usually kept them in front of your face. This made it difficult for us to get images of your face during ultrasounds.
Sometimes, you are so close, that I can almost smell your baby skin. If willpower could bring you back to me, you would have already arrived.
I want those hands, so desperately. I want those hands with little black marks in the creases, and playing in the mud, or in your food…. In all of the things that they’re not supposed to be touching.
I see other moms holding their baby girls. The baby will put her hand in front of mom’s face, and mom will bat it away.  I want to say,
“No- stop. You are taking her hands for granted. Can’t you see how magnificent they are? What a marvel your daughter is, all put together with her organs neatly stuffed INSIDE of her body.”
If you were here, I would let you explore my face with your hands like a blind person. You would pull at my eyebrows. I know this because at one point in time, almost a million years ago, I have had babies who lived- and they pulled at my eyebrows. You would pick at the mole on the side of my mouth, trying to remove it because it looks like a speck of dirt.
I would close my eyes, while your fingers trailed over my face, feeling the contours of my skin, knowing me intimately.
I wonder what your hands would have done in the space of a lifetime.
I imagine all of the actions taken by my own hands, and I vow to use them more wisely. I vow to use my hands for things that I would imagine you doing.
But I won’t. After a while, I’ll forget about my promise, and go back to “normal.”
It is difficult not to idealize you, my baby daughter. You would have been perfect, I know. The exact person I thought you would be. All of things that I wanted for you, you would have. You would love my preference for long hair and books. You wouldn’t mind my old-fashioned ways. Your hands would be next to mine, kneading bread and making jam.
I want your hands, right now. Each tiny finger was so valuable to me. I would have walked around in the grocery store, pointing them out to strangers- “look how beautiful her hands are!” And they would have been so awestruck, that they would stand still, silent in reverence.
Your hands would have done so many lovely things. They may have nurtured children. One touch from them may have healed illnesses- or maybe they would have created stunning works of art. People would flock from the world over to gaze at them, in their pristine perfection.
Your hands are one great big missing link in the chain of my life. It is broken, just because I can’t hold them in my own.
And I think I am safe in assuming that I am not the only one who has lost out, in a world where your hands are missing.

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