As parents, raising our children gives us the opportunity to relive certain parts of our own lives--parts we may have even forgotten about entirely. Last week, I took my daughter to perform (along with the rest of her pre-school class) at her school's talent show. As I held her little hand when we walked into the auditorium, her hand squeezed mine and I could feel that combination of excitement and nervousness.
I took her to join the rest of her classmates. And as my wife and I took our seats, I started to think about the way my daughter squeezed my hand, because it was a sensation my hand had never felt before.
Though I'm only 32, my hands have felt many things. They have felt what it was like to grow up in poverty, taking hand-me-down coats and mittens from local charities so that I did not freeze in bitter cold Detroit winters. They have felt what it was like to ball into a fist, and break the nose of a local bully who was picking on my baby sister. They have felt the turning off hundreds of thousands of pages, as books became not only an escape, but eventually a career. They have felt the blisters growing on fingertips as I labored for hours every day to learn the guitar. And years later they felt the joy of being able to dance across a guitar neck with Satriani-esque precision. They have felt the bite of handlebar rubber as I raced my mountain bike off of cliffs and around hairpin corners. And they have felt several of their fingers broken in a 28 MPH downhill wipeout.
My hands have felt their knuckles whiten as they clenched the phone, trying desperately to talk a friend off the ledge of suicide...and failing. And they have felt their other selves the first time I held my wife's hands in my own. They have also held my daughter, minutes after her birth, with her head badly bruised and her body bloody from a very difficult delivery. And those same hands have held her fevered body close to mine, rocking until we both fell asleep.
Last week, though, my hands experienced something new. They felt the sensation of my daughter as she readied herself to perform in front of others for the first time in her life. They clapped fervently and with immeasurable pride as she performed so well. And they hugged her so close when she was done, letting her know that, on that stage and every other stage she will encounter in her life, I love her and will always be there for her.
And as she hugged me back, her little hands were creating another story.
What about you? What is the story in your hands?