Monday, April 4, 2011

Hand Bone Connected to the Arm Bone

I enjoy church for many reasons, one of which is that I get in my best Cade time, there.  On Wednesday evenings--while Cade and I attend choir practice--his sisters stay home with their daddy.  During church on Sunday mornings, his sisters hang out in the nursery while Cade and I sing and, afterward, listen to the sermon. 

Lately, Cade seems to draw near as soon as his sisters vacate that physical space.  He jabs me with his sharp edges: chin, elbows, heels, shoulders.  One recent afternoon, I cried out in pain and frustration, and all at once, I knew: Cade crowds me because he misses my touch, because--after nine years of being my only--he became, suddenly, the big kid.  (And eighteen months later, the even bigger kid.)

The sisters ain't no joke.  The older could tear up a steel ball, and she is vocal, demanding.  The younger could suck blood from a turnip.  She doesn't have a turnip; she has my body parts.

But just because baby girls are clinging, just because I'm not always watching, doesn't mean my boy's not always growing. 

I missed cuddling with Cade in church, today; he sat beside his curly-headed friend, in the next pew up.  At one point, he threw a skinny arm up on the back of the pew and let his hand dangle in front of me.  I caught it, held it, marveled at how long and lean its fingers.  Gone is the soft pudge.  I studied hangnails, torn cuticles, red ink on palm, green ink on thumbnail, tiny scabs, dry skin.  The hand I held is the hand of an eleven-year-old boy, and I held it long. 

He didn't mind.

I didn't want to let go.

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