I hadn’t expected to see them ever again. The last year of his life, I spent hours holding one or the other, running my identical fingers over his smooth cool skin, in hopes for a squeeze. The squeezes came less and less often and finally, that hot July day, they came no more. The brother with whom I shared so many things, laughter and love and childhood secrets, was gone and so were the hands that mirrored my own. I’ve quite missed those hands.
They were integral in my memory of the boy who swatted me away, tickled and wrestled, and from pictures only, cuddled and held the sister that came four years after his birth. It was him that pushed me in my stroller, found me in hide and go seek, played monopoly and scrabble, built snowmen and made drip castles. It was his hand that tugged me to shore when the currents threatened to whisk my small frame away. I’ve quite missed those hands.
It was Mother’s Day, our first boat outing of the season this past weekend, and we rode quite a while in the choppy sound and I closed my eyes and remembered the feeling of that same old boat thirty years ago. It still bumped and jostled its’ riders and the children that shoved and pushed for space were no longer Adam and I, but my children, the nephews and niece he never knew. Those hands, I thought, I see his hands. I would have known them anywhere and there they were, reflecting sun and belonging to the boy named for his Uncle Adam. My son, Adam Russell Harrold Wood, has inherited the hands that are quite like my own and remind me that life has gone on in lovely ways I hadn’t expected. I’ve quite missed those hands.