sometimes I like to hold hands

I have the same favorite date with both of my daughters: a hike.

All that open space creates open conversation. She meanders, I ask a question. She collects rocks, tells stories.

Margot and I both wanted to get out, Andy and Ruby wanted to stay in. I asked her what we should do.

Ride bikes to the river and check it out!

We took off, her tiny frame so much bigger than it was last spring. She needs a new bike. Wow. She pedals standing up, gaining speed until she can glide and arabesque on her bright red bike with the bumblebee tattoo, the one we bought together yesterday or two years ago. She is growing her hair long and it spills out from under her helmet and drapes over her shoulders. She likes this and moves her head with exaggerated sweeps to hear hair bristle against her puffy coat.

She laughs like she always has but now there are two black spaces where teeth used to be.

Mom? I think I’d like to get my ears pierced when I am 17.

We reached the river front trail and peeled off down the slippery slope to the secret enchanted trail. She skipped ahead.

Mom! Hurry up! Come on! 

I moved quickly to keep up, noticing her agility and confidence over roots and rocks. The river to our right, was loud. And then it grumbled louder and we both stopped. It wasn’t the river, but a forceful wind gust that shook the towering trees. Margot leaned into my leg, hooked her elbow around my knee.

It started raining and then pouring but we kept on ahead, running now. The trail ends at a small pool at river’s edge. Margot waded right in filling her boots with icy water, filling her chest with laughter. She selected a handful of rocks and stuffed a bag with river to bring home to Ruby.

The rain turned into snow and hail and back to rain, wind pushed tree limbs into a drunken sway. We started back, soaked now. We ran fast, blocking low-hung branches with our forearms and shins. Margot’s giggles in tandem with the wind and current. She carried the baggie of water with great care, hugging it to her belly or letting it jiggle with her jog. I fought my urge to warn her against her squeezing it open. She knew what to do.

We stopped to watch ducks. I buzzed with happiness. I think she did too. I asked if we could take a few photos. I had been snapping photos with my phone as I chased behind her. I was glad I brought it.

The storm was eery and angry when we reached our bikes. I shoved her bike into the trailer Margot hopped into the little pod, secure from rain and wind. I peddled hard, squinting into grapple. It felt like I was in an icy ticker tape parade. At home we changed and warmed by the fire, shared our adventure and the deflated baggie that lost its water on the ride home.

The storm blew out and sun blew up. Margot and I headed out to hike the hill.

Mom will you hold my hand while we hike up? I can totally run up by myself but sometimes I like to hold hands. 

27 Responses to sometimes I like to hold hands

  1. Mau says:

    Your posts fill my heart with happiness.

  2. I love seeing how, as your kids get older, you stretch and they stretch, farther and deeper into this great world. Nice post.

  3. Jacki says:

    Reading this made me so happy and so sad. It’s such a lovely little slice of you and Margot’s day together. I love the snapshots of her charging ahead – amazing how brave and bold they can be at such a young age, isn’t it? It’s awesome. And at the same time, I am struggling right now and wishing that this experience was closer to my own. The little boy I am helping to raise is pushing me to my outer limits of patience and grace, and I am feeling like a third wheel in my own family. Where are these sweet little slices with a kid who will run in the rain with me and just want to hold my hand sometimes? (This all sounds very woe is me, and it’s surprising at how it tumbled out now that I’ve written it.) Someday, maybe. For now, thank you for sharing :)

  4. cake says:

    my favorite part: I fought the urge to warn her against squeezing it open. She knew what to do.

    I really need that reminder every day. your parenting inspires me. thank you for being so thoughtful and for sharing your insights with us.

    i feel so fortunate that my 7 year old still takes my hand when we cross a street together. he totally doesn’t need to, but out of habit, or comfort(?) he still grasps when i reach out my hand.

  5. Roxanne says:

    Your posts never cease to leave my heart feeling warm. I hope to express my love for my future children this purely someday. Thanks for sharing! xo

  6. Silas and I just “hiked” a mile down a busy city road to Kroger for tomatoes and French bread. Kind of the same?? :)

    So wish our kids could explore together…

    • dig dig says:

      Yes! Exploration comes in every little nook of our lives. I can’t wait to have a big city experience with our girls in New Orleans.

  7. Sandi Henderson says:

    love it. lucky girl that margot.

  8. Stacey says:

    Such inspiration. My favorite part: Margot carefully toting the baggie of water home to her sister. My 2-year old cried for her big sister all the way to school today because my husband took the oldest. I love that, despite their squabbles, they look to each other to share joy with. Even with a baggie of water. Oh, and this post totally makes me want to leave work right this minute, pick up my kids, and go for a hike. Missing them this morning and questioning (again!) this path we are on (school, work, etc.) and what direction we want to take our family. Love your insight here, as always.

  9. Stunningly beautiful Nici. xo

  10. Colleen says:

    These wonderful memories are going to be so much more “there” for both of your daughters as they grow up! Quotes AND pictures…oh my!!!!

  11. Trbholt says:

    She just fills my soul with joy, so do you!
    all my love to you……Mom

  12. Tiffany says:

    The bag of water is too precious.
    The last line about holding hands: being able to do something on my own, yet wanting to sometimes hold hands as well, reminds me too of what my husband and I say to each other too.

  13. Aimee says:

    You and Margot are both gorgeous, and look so alive and happy in that wind and rain. Some of the best adventures are to be had when there’s wind and rain and the promise of a fire at home. Your post has made me feel more positive about my ever fast approaching winter days and keeping the outdoors momentium up.

  14. Your blog. Your posts. Your life. All make me smile. Big.
    You’re an inspiration!

  15. rebecca says:

    ,,,”will you hold my hand”; could a daughter have a better request from her loving mama?,,,

  16. sian says:

    aw this post is so beautiful!

  17. Katie K says:

    you’re both so brave! Riding in the sleet, running through rain, cold water boots, and smiling through it all. very inspiring for us all :)

  18. Tammie says:

    This just pulled at my heart strings. Loved it from beginning to end.

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