Recently my husband told me that he'd never realized how veiny my hands are. Well, thanks, honey, that's just what every woman wants to hear. I resisted the urge to repeat all the things coming to my mind that I knew my hands had done for him. But since your hands have certainly done the same, we'll go over it together. My hands have: Cared for three children and changed at least 12,960 diapers (that's six diapers a day for three kids, two years for each kid...probably under under-estimating). They've washed, folded, and put away an undetermined number of laundry loads. My hands have cooked at least 12,000 meals (dinner for most nights of 35 years of marriage) and washed at least a million dishes. Then there are the trillion other jobs my hands have had over the years. I could only guess the number of times they've dressed little bodies, packed lunches, rubbed backs, bandaged skinned knees, and dried tears. And if you, like me, have worked hard in your life, you'll agree that this is just a small dent in the very huge bucket of chores women's hands face in a day. The truth of the matter is my hands are indeed veiny. My mom had veiny hands and my granny's even veinier (is that a word?). I can't say that any woman in my family would win a hand-modeling contest but, hey, hands are the hardest working tools we possess. And I am completely sure that my days of sun-worshipping as a young adult didn't help my hands one iota. I know that because of the wrinkles they now bear. Funny how men can notice the veins in your hands, but not notice the brand-new top you have on. It's a mystery.
My hands have gained somewhat of a reputation in my lifetime as well for some not-so-pleasant maneuvers. I'm sure my children remember them for popping their mouths a few times. When I was a young mom, I had great patience with my children -- that is, until they talked back. Talking back and being sassy would get them a pop in the mouth quicker than anything. Whatever you do, do not be disrespectful. My son will tell you a not-so-happy story about how I ruined the Christmas of '87 (or thereabouts) because I would not let him stay overnight at his grandparents. No, he ruined Christmas by telling me to my face that I had ruined his Christmas -- the mother who had worked her rear-end off (and her hands) to make sure that his Christmas was the best one ever. That is the way it happened. I had popped his adolescent mouth in a New York minute before he even realized what had happened, bringing about the deadliest silence I have ever experienced in a room filled with all my relatives. Now, I'm not suggesting that popping a child in the mouth is always the right thing to do, but I'm also not suggesting that it is never the right thing to do. It worked for our family, and I happen to have three grown children who know what it means to be respectful. I have also been the recipient of a reprimand for wagging my finger at people. I have been told this is not a nice thing to do. Uh-oh.
But I hope more than the mishaps, I am remembered as a mom who had loving hands. I hope my children and grandchildren can remember my hands gently bathing them, stroking their hair, holding a book as I read to them, and taking them into my arms for great big bear hugs on a regular basis. When I think of all the things moms, grandmothers, sisters, aunts, best friends, and every woman on planet earth do with their hands every day, I am amazed that they don't just drop off from severe overuse! We could not even begin to count the endless tasks for which we use our hands but, if we could, we would understand why those hands begin to look a little weathered somewhere around mid-life. If this is making you think a manicure might be in order for your near future, go for it -- you deserve it!
The above picture is one I snapped of the sweet lady I sit with every week. She is playing with her newest great grandbaby (at that time) and I thought it such a sweet and gentle image. Today Grace is fighting a battle with advanced-stage Alzhemer's. Her mind continues to slip a little bit deeper every day into the throes of this horrible disease. She can no longer form her words clearly or put together sentences that make sense. Sometimes she has trouble swallowing. She has lost control of so many of the things we take for granted. But one thing is sure. Even though she can no longer use her hands to create those wonderful biscuits she once made, she knows a loving touch and can return the gesture. She understands the gentle stroke of a hand on her hair, telling her everything is gonna be okay. She can also remember how to wack you on the arm if you press her to do something she doesn't want to do!
Even though they are still young women, I think of my daughters and how their hands are such a crucial part of their professions. As a nurse, Hollie's hands see many things in a day as she cares for sick people and her own little mini me, Preston, as well. Abbie uses her hands as an artist to mold clay at the potter's wheel and to paint and draw. When I look at their hands, I think to myself my girls have hard-working hands. They use their hands to bring about good and beauty and hope. And then I think that most assuredly they will one day be veiny just like their mother's. But that's okay. Mature hands are a sure sign that you have been fully involved in life, that you've used them to bring about good, that you've mixed up a meat loaf or two, and that they've been used occasionally for a pop to halt sassiness. But more than anything, hands are not meant to be idle; they are meant to be used. And used especially in the giving and receiving of love and the many tasks the act of love bears.
Posted by CC
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