Monday, June 13, 2011

My Hands

As I started to write just now I looked down and was startled. How did my mother’s hands get attached to the ends of my arms? I don’t feel older, but these hands are her old hands. The blood vessels look like blue cords, the threads of muscles that work my fingers look like tight-ropes and the skin is loose and soft just like Mother's. Like I said, my mother’s hands have somehow become attached to my arms. These hands are not the young strong hands that used to be on the ends of my arms.
For many years I’ve watched these hands do dishes, wring out diapers (That’s right—no disposable diapers when I began mothering. You young mothers don’t know how lucky you are!) I’ve watched them knit, crochet and do all kinds of hand work. I’ve washed garden soil off them and once in a great while painted the nails. I’ve adorned the fingers with rings and the wrists with bracelets. Through tears that distorted their shape I’ve looked at these hands clenched in front of me as I prayed. And more times than I wish, I’ve watched cuts and burns slowly heal on these hands.

But the best memories are of these fingers softly caressing a sleeping child’s cheek. Or of Mr. J slipping a ring on my finger as we stand beside an altar. Or of these fingers patting my dying father on the shoulder as a final goodbye. Or of little people kissing my hands as I tucked them into bed. So many wonderful memories now adorn these hands.

Yes, these hands have turned into my mother’s hands but I’m grateful. Her hands did all those things too, and they did even more than that for me. I just pray that someday my daughters will look at their hands and see mine and be grateful. What more could a mother wish for?


Connie said...

I am always fascinated by people's hands and the stories they tell.

Sherrie Mills Johnson said...

Connie, So nice to hear from you! I too love hands. They do tell so very much about a person!