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.
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
- Milton Berle