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My Mother's Hands

~Photo Credit~
I know that as the years went by my Mother's hands at one time or another resembled all of those above, yet the image that remains with me are the aged ones on right - fingers stiff and knuckles swollen from years of battling rheumatoid arthritis, varicose veins mapping their way under paper thin skin mottled with bruises courtesy of a blood thinner regime, and I remember how sad they made her, how she hated the way they looked - one more indignity in twenty-some years of battling illness and pain, depression, and addiction to prescribed medications.  My heart weeps for the ravages of old age and disease. 
 
Growing up I remember those hands so differently...
 
My Mother's hands held babies and bottles, changed diapers, and cleaned up sticky messes that toddlers made.  My Mother's hands prepared meals for us three times a day, seven days a week without fail, even when she was weak with sickness or pain. 
 
 My Mother's hands washed piles of laundry for a whole day on Mondays and ironed it piece by piece on Tuesdays. Those hands scrubbed floors and bathrooms, dusted and polished, and painted walls when they needed a change.  My Mother's hands planted and weeded and harvested gardens and canned what was grown, they fed cats and dogs and cleaned up the messes they made. 
 
My Mother's hands baked wonderful desserts and cookies on Saturdays and holidays, and decorated Christmas trees and hung Christmas lights.  Her hands wrapped packages with bright paper and ribbon, hung balloons and streamers, and decorated cakes for for birthdays, and wrote personal notes on three hundred Christmas cards. 
 
My Mother's hands washed faces and hair, wrapped curlers, checked for fevers and made toast and tea when we were sick. They buttoned our coats and helped us tug on boots and mittens, and shoveled the sidewalk and warmed up the car.  They pulled the sled and toboggan up the hill so we could slide back down.  They sewed doll blankets and doll clothes and mended our own.
 
My Mother's hands took photographs, wiped away tears, and occasionally smacked us when we got out of line.   They helped us make Valentines and May Day baskets, and popcorn balls to pass out on Halloween.  They held us tight when we were grown and ready to leave home, and wrote us letters in beautiful manuscript even when it hurt so much to do.  My Mother's hands packed cookies and candy and mailed us care packages when we lived far from home.  God bless my mother, how I miss those hands. 
 
Now at past sixty I look down at my hands, and I see my Mother's hands once again.  
 
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I'm linking up with Patricia's blog hop In Other Words
 where the creative writing prompt this week is the following quotation:
 
"If evolution really works, how come mothers only have two hands?"
- Milton Berle

 

13 comments:

  1. This is the flip-side to the previous story... both of them are mine.

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  2. Hands that have done all these things are beautiful, no matter what they may look like.

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    1. I agree Mimi! The beauty is in the love that they manifested in the things that were done.

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  3. Isn't it interesting how we can see our mothers more and more as we get a bit older?

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    1. Most definitely, Linda Kay, what was once so puzzling about them becomes more clear as the years progress. While they always say us as "the kids" we also always saw them as "the parents", and sometimes the reality that we are all individuals with lives of our own gets missed.

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  4. I love looking at people's hands: those with beautiful skin fingers, those with large, swollen knuckles. I love imagining and picturing the stories behind hands.

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    1. Exactly, Sarah! I love seeing old men's hands too, that have clearly done years of labor in providing for their families. One may be able to have costly face lifts, but the hands tell the tale of life lived none the less!

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  5. I once spent a day photographing Bryan's grandparents and their farm for a book I was making for his relatives. My favorite ones are the close ups of their hands. Knitting, making Christmas wreaths, holding each other's hands. Honestly, hands are like an extension of a person's heart.

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    1. How sweet, Christine! And yes, hands are so much an extension of our hearts, what we do is a manifestation of how much we care. I have a photo from our wedding day which is just our hands, his large strong one over mine, neither of them young or wrinkle free. It is my favorite! I made a poster of it which says "Love Knows Its Own Time". :-)

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    2. I just love what Christine said and I love your reply. I feel touched by the heart in the hands.

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  6. I definitely have my mother's hands.

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  7. Sitting here with tears in my eyes, tomorrow is Mothers Day, another one without her. I know she's in a better place, and I wouldn't want her to still be with us, as she was; but...still. This is truly beautifully written and I love the photo, it tells so much.

    I'm still rounding, trying to keep the momentum of a-z going and let folks know there's a contest.

    Sandy at Bridge and Beyond

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  8. So beautiful, Josie. Yes, hands tell the story of a person. Your story here certainly tells the story of a daughter who loved and respected her mother. It also tells of how much you love and miss her today. Thank you for sharing this most beautiful love story.

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Your comments are always appreciated... they make me smile! :-)