6 : Gentle Touch


A little itsy bitsy hand
Reached out to me
Until it touched my knee

It was your hand that reached to me
When you were less than three
In a time of sorrow
When my father left me

Your little itsy bitsy hand
Reached out to me
Until you touched my heart

So much love and understanding
From such a little person
The one who touched my knee
When you were less than three

A little itsy bitsy hand
Reached out to me
Until it touched my knee


Why I wrote Gentle Touch:


Written when you were an adult, I nevertheless chose to adopt a child-like tone to reflect two very separate occasions – a meaningful moment from the past and a brief one in the present, both brought on by a gentle touch.

Instantly brought back to a time when you were very young, even though the memory of your actions is what the poem is about, there was another definite moment that prompted me to write Gentle Touch.

I was sitting in a waiting room to see a doctor when a young mother came in and sat at the other end of the waiting room. She took her child out of the stroller, and as soon as her little girl’s feet touched the ground, she immediately started walking towards me. Her eyes locked into mine, her jumbled but steady new feet kept on heading towards me until her small hand reached out and touched my knee – just like yours had when you were just about the same age as she.


How I wrote Gentle Touch:


A little itsy bitsy hand
Reached out to me
Until it touched my knee


It’s difficult for me to be truly objective since I wrote these lines, but I thought it fairly implies that it’s a child’s hand reaching out without literally stating it as being such.

Even though I realize how a single word would suffice to describe the hand, I intentionally chose the extra words “little itsy bitsy” instead of the single word “tiny”. Not only because I prefer the rhythm and flow of multiple words, but also because I didn’t want to steal from another precious memory I have of you as a child.

You see, mornings when I didn’t have to go to work, you were always eager to cuddle in bed to chat about our day ahead or to occasionally sleep in. You would even often ask the night before if you had to go to daycare the next day, and if you didn’t, the morning cuddle was often your first request of things to do for our day off.

During the mornings we stayed in, we’d chat, read, or play games while cuddling. One of the games you came up with, all on your own, had to do with my hand.

You suddenly burst into giggles while lying next to me one morning. Surprised by my fingers sticking out from under the pillow, you reached for my hand, and again, you were startled and amused when I wiggled my fingers. Then, treating this wiggly under the pillow hand as a little pet of yours, you appeased it to join us in our peaceful morning cuddle. As my hand calmed, you praised this new friend of yours, and called it Tiny.


More on how I wrote Gentle Touch:


It was your hand that reached to me
When you were less than three
In a time of sorrow
When my father left me


Although the poem implies that you were close to three years old, I chose the number three for rhyme’s sake only. You were actually less than two when the event I refer to occurred.

The core of the poem reflects on a very specific and sorrowful day – the day I learned, through a phone call from my brother, that my father had passed away.

There was no one else with me but you at that moment, so as the shock subsided and sadness settled in, I tried as best as I could to contain my emotions so as to not upset you. Inevitably, at some point, a few tears escaped my watery eyes. This is when you immediately, without a moment’s hesitation, quietly came to my side and gently placed your hand on my knee. You then placed your head on my leg and with words you were still learning, consoled me by saying, “s’okay mom, s’okay.”


Your little itsy bitsy hand
Reached out to me
Until you touched my heart

It was only recently that I chose to add this slight variation to the poem. After reading it again, I recognized the emotional impact that the event, and the poem, had on me. This is when I added the fact that, not only was my knee touched, but my heart was as well.


So much love and understanding
From such a little person
The one who touched my knee
When you were less than three

You must know by now, having reached the maturity you have, that compassion and caring isn’t something that can be taught to such a young child. It’s a beautiful and wonderful personal trait – an innate quality which you demonstrated so clearly so early on in your years


A little itsy bitsy hand
Reached out to me
Until it touched my knee

The closing, repeating the mention of the little hand reaching out to me, is simply intended as a reminder of how precious that moment was for me.


Drawing from the poem:


Drawn very recently while writing these notes, the abstract form started by drawing a downward line which took the shape of a teardrop. I then added a thicker curvature on the left to represent me, sitting, just as I was on the day the poem refers to, and the two teardrops on the top left are to indicate the sorrow felt at that moment.

The smaller curve, connecting the form on the lower right, is your hand. The next circular form is your head and body, to which I added a trailing visible heart, indicative of the love you instinctively and intuitively shared with me on that day.


Thank you for inspiring me to create Gentle Touch


Gentle Touch

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