Aaron is a consistently honest and real voice on the internet. I've had the pleasure of knowing him online, and also spending time with him in person, at the Faith and Culture Writer's Conference. He writes with passion and beauty and speaks often to one of my great passions: the left out ones. I hope you'll enjoy this beautiful de(tale) about his son as much as I did. ...
His hands are small.
His little fists fit into the palm of my hand, and I am reminded that he is still a small boy. After four years of growth, I forget that he is still my baby, my little guy. I remember thinking about how small and tender his hands were when he first grasped my fingers as an infant. I’m still reminded of how small and tender he is when he holds my hand as we walk down the street.
It’s not that he is small. In fact, he is big for his age. He is solid and strong. He is also still growing, and I forget that he is not yet what he will be. I remember it when he sleeps, when he is vulnerable and small in our king sized bed. It’s then I see what a child he still is, how much he has grown, and how much he has left to become.
When he holds my hand as we sleep, I can still feel the smallness of his tender hands. It reminds me of when he was younger, a baby. It reminds me when I was struck with the realization that my first born son – MY SON – was holding my hand. It was one of those moments of pure shock and bliss that strikes you and makes you remember it forever.
As my boy holds my hand and we walk, I remember when he held my hands learning to walk, learning to take steps and support his body on those chubby little baby legs. I remember sitting on the floor of the apartment with him, watching him pull himself up to stand leaning against coffee tables, couches, chairs, and anything else those little hands could grab. I remember him as a toddler, learning to use his hands to not hit and to grab his own spoon. I remember the mess his hands made of spaghetti.
His hands are small, but already they are traced with the lines of life and living. Already they remind me of my own. Already, I can see how someday his hands will outgrow mine. What will happen when my child grows bigger than me? What about when he simply grows too big to hold in my arms the way we snuggle now. My son is growing up, his hands are getting bigger, changing what they can do, and someday those hands will be fully grown, big, and independent.
Right now, those hands remain small. For now his hands fit into mine. For now, he has so much more growing to do. My prayer is that my hands, my older, bigger hands might lead him in the good paths, the ways that let him grow well and grow good. My hands hold his for now, and I feel the weight of those little hands. It’s something special and unlike anything other weight my hands can lift in this life.
So we hold hands, we give high fives, we play with toys together, we learn to be gentle with our hands, and together we walk, crossing streets and climbing hills. As we hold hands, we move through life, even while we sleep. I never really thought about it until now, but I see that his hands lead me to grow just as much as my hands guide him in his growth. It is a beautiful thing, something sacred. Those small hands are something holy, and I get to touch and hold them. I handle the sacred when I hold my child’s hand.
No matter how small they are.
Aaron Smith is a husband, father, believer, writer, nerd, coffee chugger. Just a typical Jesus obsessed, question everything, bipolar, poet-punk-theologian. You can connect with him further on his blog, Cultural Savage, and on Twitter.
You can check out the other de(tales) (so far) here.