Tree of Hands, Tree of Life
When my son was a newborn, he mostly cried, made messy diapers, and followed me incessantly with his eyes. I could see a beautiful light from within him even so, and looked forward to seeing who he would become.
His hands captivated me. At first he only held onto things–usually rattles–without showing any real interest in them. He was just building his baby muscles.
Later, his hands reached out to hold things he wanted and deliver them to his mouth. Scraps of paper, crayons, toys, power cords. You name it, he wanted it in his mouth, and knew how to get it there.
Soon enough, he began walking. He used his hands to pick up sticks and leaves, pet neighborhood cats, and best of all, hold my hand.
How I savored the feel of his tiny hand in mine!
Next came coloring, big loops and swirls he’d call airplanes, or monsters, or Mommy.
Then putting blocks together.
Then using glue.
Then, biting his lip with great concentration, writing his own name.
All of it set my heart aflutter, but it was always his hands in mine that really did me in. Those tiny hands, growing ever bigger but still seeking my own.
This morning I walked into his preschool and found a piece of art that made me cry.
It’s just a Christmas tree, some might say.
But it is a Christmas tree built from my son’s hands. Seeing it, I see not only the tree but all the many motions its green hands have made to steal my heart the last four years.
Those little green hands. Oh, those little green hands.
With every motion, they have brightened my life.
I don’t need presents under any tree. This year and forevermore, a hand tree itself is all the gift–and reminder–I could possibly need.