Each morning I stand at the door clad in flannel pajamas, with raccoon eyes, hair still worn down from my pillow the night before. I catch a glimpse of eyes peeking over the door and two little hands waving at me from the back seat of my husband’s car as they leave for school.
Sometimes they wave for a long time. Sometimes it’s a quick wave thrown at me to make me happy. Sometimes they don’t wave because they are already busy talking or it’s been a bad morning and they left the house mad at me. And sometimes I can see my daughter waving frantically, mouth open and set in a smile like she has just seen me for the first time in 20 years.
This is a part of my day I don’t want to miss. If I’m in the bathroom, I tell my husband to wait. He doesn’t understand this, why I must see these little hands waving every day.
Those little hands, once so tiny, would reach out for me in their sleep to make sure I was still there. They once spent so much time practicing motor skills, picking up Cheerios and trying to pick up droplets of water with a serious amount of concentration.
Those little hands once smeared you-know-what on my bathroom door. Now they slam doors. They became so frustrated with the pain of holding pencils and crayons and threw them down in anger. Now those little hands write all the time and type and hold books open to read.
They learn to cook alongside me, measuring, pouring, chopping, stirring, and tasting. They string beads and cut tiny bits of paper that I find all over my floor. They learn to sew with plastic needles and felt.
Little hands used to poke me in the face in the middle of the night. Now they gently shake my arm. They play with my hair and style it with dozens of clips and then hold the mirror so I can admire my new look.
They put together Lego sets with skill and can finally dribble a basketball and catch a pop fly. They draw amazing pictures of animals and take pictures of even more.
Those little hands fit perfectly in mine and I hold them tight whenever the kids give me a chance. Those days are numbered.
I hope one day those little hands will grow up to do amazing things and they’ll have little hands of their own to hold. It won’t be long before those little hands are driving themselves to school, and then I’ll want them both to stay on the wheel. But I’ll still be standing at the door, watching them go.