Friday, May 7, 2010

mom hands

I was looking at the back of my hand the other day. As my eyes moved over a few new scars, some darker veins, how the skin has been so dry lately that it seems to be aging more rapidly then the rest of me, I was suddenly struck with a thought: My hands look like my mom's.

The saying about knowing something as well as the back of your hand is misleading - like "sleeping like a baby." Anyone who has had a baby knows that isn't indicative of a well-resting person. Similarly, as I noticed various new characteristics, I realized I did not know my hands. But I know my mom's.

I know she has shorter and flatter nail beds (a characteristic from her mother, and one I have been delighted to see in my children). I know she has thumbs that curve out weirdly - it's a characteristic my sisters inherited and I did not (I secretly wished I had - just because it's like my mom). I know the couple of scars and a few freckles/moles. I know the way her ring sits on her finger.

I know the way her hands move when she's leading music or teaching a lesson or making a point. I know the way they hold fabric while she's sewing or a book that she's reading. I know the way they pull a brush or a flat iron through her hair. I know the way she'll clap her hands and then rub them together to indicate a great idea about to be implemented.

I know the way they make lasagna or shape rolls or scoop out what must be somewhere in the neighborhood of her 30,000th cookie. I know the way they push a vacuum or wipe down counters or fold socks. I know the way they smooth down sheets as she makes bed and holds fabric out to see where to place the hem.

I know the way they grip her bicycle handles as she ascends another hill on one of her 60-something mile rides. I know the way they held an edger for the lawn. I know the way brush paint on walls and caulk edges. I know the way they hold a steering wheel to rush to the store last minute to buy supplies for a project due the next day that was only just now mentioned.

I know the way they reach out to hug me and pat my back and I know what they look like as they hold the phone as she tells me she is always on my side. I know the way they have carried me, injured, off soccer fields, and how they rubbed my back while I was in labor. I know the way she must have held me, seconds old. I know the way those hands smoothed dresses for promotion and prom and graduation and my wedding. I know the way she cradled each of my babies through the night so I could sleep.

I know that those hands aren't extraordinarily soft, but they are comforting. I know they aren't really rough, but they are strong. I know that they have wiped tears of sadness and frustration, but also tears of hysterical laughter.

I look at the back of my hands and hope that they look like my mom's. I hope that my kids will know them better than I do. And I hope my mom knows how much I appreciate her hands.

Happy Mother's Day, Mom.


Itty_Bitty_Wittes said...

Did you read the article in the friend about mothers hands?

Its a poem, check it out!

TripleM said...

Does anyone have a tissue? Beautiful, Sarah.

Christina said...

So beautiful! You have such an amazing way of writing... Happy Mother's Day to YOU!

Shira said...

So beautiful. wow. And how weird- I was looking at my hands and thinking the same thing about my hands and my mom's hands! Happy Mother's day, Sarah!!!!

Emily said...

SO true! I love to read your blog, you are such a great writer! Its so weird that a person remembers hands so vividly. I remember my Grandma Hill's hands like I am looking at a photograph of them, and as the years pass my Mom's resemble hers! I am sure your Mom LOVED this post, it was so sweet and heartfelt!

wanda said...

You are too sweet. Just the other day I was thinking that my hands are looking more like MY mother's did!

loewymartin said...

Well, you made me cry again - your writing is fantastic. And made mer remember my moms hands too.