Monday, November 14, 2005

Three Small Hands

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Matt, the new owner of the farm, called us this morning. He was having problems with hot water (not unusual) but he'd also found three plaster handprints on the shelf above the refrigerator. I knew the ones he was speaking about: my brothers had their right hands imprinted in plaster and then painted in 1971, their kindergarten year at Old Trail School (they are fraternal twins) and my right hand had also been cast several years before in the same kindergarten, same school in 1967. I hadn't seen these in many years! I expect that when Mom and Gerry had the kitchen redone in 1987 that they may have been put up somewhere for safe keeping and then forgotten--they were not hung but flat on the shelf. It may also be that my mother found them this summer and placed them there for safekeeping.

I will bring them to her tomorrow--three small hands, one of each of her children. Three small hands that grew into three adults with families and lives of their own. Who knew in 1967 and 1971 what we would become? What life would be like in our 40s (my brothers will be 40 in 2006)? What life would be like without our parents' hands to hold or their bodies to lean on in the world?

My brothers and I have lived a life together yet each of our experiences have been unique. It is incredible how two people can create such difference--whether in three, six or nine. My siblings and I, despite our differences and perspectives on life, will always have a glue that binds us: places, memories, and now families of our own to share. Two of us now have "three small hands" of our own to care for and love, three small hands that will one day leave us, too, and make their way in the world. I wish for each of them a childhood as semi-precious as ours seemed to be.

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