for most of us that is our hands.  When I am a child my hands want to be held. I use my hands for requests. Raised above my head means ‘up’, lift me up so I can see, your face, what you are looking at…Lift me up and hold me tight, I need comfort. I need to know you love me. Keep me safe. Give me, food, water, a toy, a smile.

Later, let me show you I can open my hands and drop things.

When I am a toddler I want to hold your hand as we walk together. I am not steady on my feet yet, or I maybe looking up and not see what is on the path. Sometimes you will need to lift me by my hands to swoop over a puddle or other obstacle. I love it when both my hands are held and I am swung through the air. I love the exhilaration and I trust you.

I hold your hand tight when you lead me to a place called school. Your hand leaves mine and when I look up I see your smile and your hand waves bye-bye. I know you are going, but I am not afraid. These last few days you have held my hands as we sat in the rocking chair. You talked about school, what it is and what it will be like.

Teacher’s hands will guide me now. They show me many things.

Your hands are there when I come to the gate, you lift my school bag from my sagging shoulders.  Your hand takes mine and the world balances again.

I can see the things your hands have done while I was away: the garden you have tended, the home you have cleaned. The food you have cooked. On your desk I see the work you have done, the books you have opened, the computer work you have completed.

I go with you and watch you hands tend the frail and the ill. I see you soothe and nurture. I recognise what you are doing as your hands have soothed and nurtured me. Even though I am bigger I still want to hold your hand.

As I grow I watch your hands become less smooth, I see the passing of time in the wrinkles of your skin. The warm and love your hands offer only seems to increase.  Your hands continue to lift, and love, to reach and serve, to encourage and demonstrate. I see you wipe away tears for your friends. I see you tend your dying mother. I watch hands that yesterday did the roughest toughest work now slide gently along your mother’s arm. I see you kneel and your hands gently dry between now gnarled toes.  I see you carefully dress her, and comb her hair. I see you cup her cheek softly, with love, as you bend to kiss her.

Later in the shadow of quietness I see your hand slowly raise to your cheeks and wipe the tears away. I see your hand raised to your lips, your fingers pressing there, trying to hold in the sadness.

I watch you at her bedside, your hands offer tender gestures of reassurance. You raise her frail twisted fingers  to your lips, they brush across your mother’s skin. As I watch, you draw back. You sit very still. Minutes tick by. You lower her hand and fold it across the other. Your fingers trail across her cheek. They trace her brows, and round your lips. Your fingers scan the face of your mother into your heart forever. Lastly you put your hand upon her two, your lashes flutter shut. You are still. You are remembering.

I slide my hands across your shoulders, just as I have seen you do. Your hands reach out to me, ‘up’ they seem to say…lift me up so I can see, your face, what you are looking at…Lift me up and hold me tight, I need comfort. I need to know you love me. Keep me safe.

Give me your hand, and I will walk with you.

© Jane 2012