I reach out and a little hand slips confidently into my own. I marvel at just *how* little, yet how perfectly formed it is. Holding that little hand, I know that it's an irreproducible experience. Irreplaceable.
Our destination is here and the hand tries to slip away— I don't want to let go, but it's time. As I do, a little face, as perfectly formed as the hand, looks up at me, face glowing with the sheer joy of existing, being loved and cared for. There's a laugh as I open my hand and the little hand slips out. Still radiating that pure and simple happiness, the child, for it is a child, dances away.
My empty hand still holds a ghost of theirs.