I believe that we live in a realm of miracles.
I had two miracles that day.
I remember the first time my daughter held my hand. The rolls on Bella’s hands, the tiny way her fist opened and closed, how she swatted at objects to far for her to reach. I remember the first time she shut her fingers in the door and touched something too hot. I’ve seen hot tears fall through her hands as she sobbed. I remember how frantic I was that she should hold my hand in the parking lot and release my hands to play at the park. I felt like such a stellar parent by insisting on both in a time when I thought it mattered. I know better now. I’ve watched her hands dance, strum the guitar, draw and “craft” a cardboard masterpiece out of scraps. I remember the splinters, the thorn from the rose bush with a name, the spontaneous scar, the wart and the bee sting. When I think about how long it’s been since she’s reached for my hand, I feel sad. She’s fifteen and feels strongly about that.
As a parent, my words have become white noise and my hands are superfluous. I remind her of her strength and she rolls her eyes. I ask her what her hands have done today and she gets snippy. I reach out for my "8 second hug" and she resists the whole time that I hold on.
Last month, I knocked on her bedroom door and ask if she wanted come see Harry’s basketball game with us.
Miracle #1: She said yes and with a kind and happy heart, got in the car.
Sometimes when I watch my kid do something they love, I can be a bit loud. At the game, Harry nailed a three-pointer and I clapped fiercely in response. My support echoed through the gym and caused some embarrassment for my teen.
“Mom, you’re so loud” she said and gently reached over and held my hands.
Miracle #2: She didn’t let go. She held my hand until the end of the game.
As I watched the game, I wondered how many more moments she might hold my hand like this; comfortably, effortless and warm. As the oldest child in the family, Bella and I live in a world of firsts; first words, steps, tears, illness, battle-of-wills, dates, heartbreaks. The list feels eternal. What I’m learning is there comes a much dreaded point in teenager-dom when everything feels like the last; falling asleep in my lap, asking me to go for a walk, laughing at nothing together, holding my hand. I know that gratitude is the way out of that scarcity feeling. I know that and yet...
There are times when words fail me. In the middle of a miracle, I’ve got nada. Nothing. Just a complete softening of me. That’s how I know I’m experiencing one.
We live in a realm of miracles if we are open to seeing them. I know my daughter’s hands will bring to pass miracles a-plenty in her lifetime. They are strong, compassionate, steady, and creative. She will do wonders.
We won the game in double overtime.
Was she trying to shut me up by holding onto me at the game? Yes.
Do I care? Nope.
Because my daughter held my hand.
Photography by the timeless: Rachel Downey Photography