Mother's Hands

I have worn contact lenses since I was a teenager and few years ago I got reading glasses to wear over my contacts for seeing things close up. 

First thing in the morning when my eyes are naked, so to speak, without the benefit of a corrective lens of any kind I see some things clearest of all and sometimes what I see startles me. Like the other morning when I saw my hands and realized that they are no longer the hands of a young woman.

At first I was somewhat dismayed to find that my hands have aged along with the rest of my body. Fine lines crisscross the back at all angles; flesh that was once taut and firm is now softer and lies in soft folds at the base of my fingers; a bluish vein snakes a prominent path from one side to the other.

I recognized the hands as those of my mother. Mom was almost exactly four years older than I am today when she passed away. It has been twenty-five years since I saw her, I barely recall what her voice sounded like, yet I recognized her hands when I saw them that morning.

They were the hands that fed me, bathed me, caressed me, played with me, and even occasionally spanked me. They were the hands that cooked for our family, cleaned our home, painted our walls, mowed our lawn, and planted gladiola bulbs in the spring. They were the hands that made crumb cake, banana bread, peanut butter cookies, and heavy brandy-soaked Christmas cake. They were the hands that sewed dresses and knit mittens and scarves. They were the hands that poured peroxide on my skinned knees and held me when I cried. They were the hands that smelled like Jergens hand lotion.

They were the hands that held my mother’s head in them as she wept when she was told that my father had died. They were the hands that held mine and my sister’s when we walked to the front of the sanctuary to stand before his casket on that surreal day when he was laid to rest.

My hands, the hands of a woman who is no longer young, have their own story.  Tucked within the wrinkles and folds is the story of my life.  What point would there be in longing for the youthful hands I once hand or despairing over the changes that have taken place? 

After all, my hands are also the hands of a mother.


12 comments:

Deb said...

nice post....I can feel the love you have for your mother....

Carmen said...

I had the same realization a few years back. In fact, I remember comparing my hands to my mom's hands when I was a teen and thinking how old hers looked. I look at both our hands differently now, for the same reasons you describe here. I enjoyed this post!

Laurinda said...

This is really nice...Quite special, thank you for sharing. The memories that come up for you, that is wonderful! I too have had moments of recognizing moms hands in my own!

Linda said...

Deb, it's true. I still miss her though it's been twenty-five years since she passed away.
Carmen, with age brings wisdom!
Laurinda, many many hugs to you!

Hill Country Hippie said...

I hadn't realized that both your parents died so young. How difficult it must have been for you, not having them around to comfort and advise in difficult times.

Michele said...

Your post definitely opened up some personal emotions. I haven't been visiting any blogs for a quite while now.. I'm glad that yours was the first one that I went back to tonight! Thanks for sharing.

Anonymous said...

Linda,
This post resonated deeply with me. How often I have looked at parts of my body and see my mom as well...my hands, my feet (especially my big toes). I hear her laugh in mine and it brings me comfort (she's been gone over twelve years). Our mom's are always with us, if we just observe. ; )
Judy

Linda said...

Becky, yes I miss them still.
Michele, I'm glad to see you again! And I'm honored that you chose to visit my blog, hope to see you soon!
Judy, you're right!

Terri Tiffany said...

Your posts get more beautiful each time I come here. Awesome!

Janna Qualman said...

Linda, this is so beautiful. Hands have so much purpose, don't they?

I held my dad's, that last morning. I can't help but think of it now.

Journaling Woman said...

I cherish my mother as I can tell you did too.

Teresa

Linda said...

Terri, thank you!
Janna, that is a precious memory you will cherish always.
Teresa, aren't we blessed to have (or have had) such a relationship with our mothers.