Stopping on the way out of camp to touch the earth. July 3rd, 2013
Those who trust us, educate us.
My girl feels her way through the world.
It’s what she does.
It’s the way that she learns.
It’s a big part of who she is.
Sensorial experiences mean far more to her than the words that the rest of us arbitrarily assign to them. And isn’t that the way it should be? The essence of feeling itself more valuable than our suspect attempts to describe it?
Her hands are finely tuned instruments — collecting data, sorting and storing information, registering and cataloging thousands upon thousands of moments in a life lived through touch.
Her fingers are her antennae. Her nails scratch to see what’s just below the surface. Her fingertips rub and poke and push to read texture, temperature, density, elasticity, porosity. The feelings, the senses — they are her memories. They are what matter.
And so it is that THIS is a big deal. A really, really big deal.
It takes a lifetime of trust for my daughter to give you her hand.
It is why it is so incredibly violating to presume the right to try to take it without asking. It is why “hand over hand” instruction is not EVER okay without TRUST and CONSENT. It is why grabbing her hand to pull her into a line or redirect her will invariably result in an ‘unexpected’ yelp. Not really so unexpected if you stop to think about why.
To grab her hands is to strangle her point of connection with the world.
It’s not okay.
I love holding hands. But I’ve come to understand why it’s so hard for Brooke to do.
Now when we walk, I offer her my arm. She takes it by linking hers through mine, as though I’m escorting her to a ball. We are linked, but her hands are free to do what they do. To touch, to discover, to learn,to interact, to FEEL.
And once in a rare while, she offers up a gift.
And I’m lucky enough to know exactly how much it means.