Holding On To The Stories Our Hands Tell

“Becoming a mother is the most transformative shift in identity from being the ‘daughter of’ to the ’mother to’, from individual identity to collective.” –@birthofamama

At an early age, I caught a glimpse of what it is for a woman to lead through a pen. My introduction as a writer came from the placement of my mom’s hands over my own, guiding the direction of the pencil to help me trace and form letters that would become stories twenty-something years later.

For someone who knows what it is to struggle, I cannot let go off the scenarios that rummage through my mind of her using her hands to produce something out of nothing for dinner, learning the concept of hustling in the home instead of out in the street.

In trying to find God, I discovered new parts of what her quiet strength felt like when we knelt before crosses and locked hands at altars on Sundays.

I misinterpreted love when her hands would hit and subsequently try to heal hurt with hugs. Hands are like home; hands can also create distance and make the familiar feel foreign. 

Do the lines in our palms expose narratives about our lineage? What energies transmit through a mother’s hands to her daughter’s? 

It’s a question that I’ve reflected on for 31 days since your arrival. I’ve thought a lot about how the start of this new year, the very first day, brought about a lone resolution:

Be a better mother.

I spoke to you hours later on what would be your birthday as contractions crashed in and thought about how my own mother stood bedside, holding my hand in the same hospital eight years prior. She would not be present during your birth, nor would she know about my pregnancy with you, but as someone’s child, for just a quick second, I wanted my own guardian there. I went from holding her hand and using her encouragement as strength to pull through, to squeezing bed rails as I pushed you out of me without her presence. What an exchange in almost a decade’s time–the intimacy in holding her hands, to holding onto you as if I depend on your existence more than you do mine. 

In a month’s time, your hand and my sole finger join together as if we’re praying together. You and I are finding new connections while in communion with God.

In the silence where early mornings can be confused for late evenings, I pray for the end of ancestral trauma and the beginning of generational healing. Pray quotes that read “let’s raise children who won’t have to recover from their childhood” over your head.

I am fascinated in the complexity in mother-daughter relationships and frightened at how the grip in our hands loosen over time. I can still feel the influence my mom had maneuvering my hands over paper; still taste the love blended into the food she conjured up with her fingertips; continually travel with the prayers we said when our hands met at the tabernacle; will always live with the history of how those hands changed in my life.

And so for that reason, I can admit that I don’t want to let go of the feelings you’ve stirred within me during the last month. I’ll hold on to your fingers firmly today as if to hold on to this moment…to you…forever. 

Happy one month, Baby K.

1 Comment

  1. Kate 02.02.2017

    Your words are, as always, exquisite. I’m loving the way that new Baby K’s arrival has inspired you to put pen to paper (errr, fingers to keys?) in this way again.


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