Friday, February 02, 2007

I have my mother's hands

I was looking at my hands today on the bus and realized that my hands
are just like my mom's. They are thin and veiny and looking somewhat
old. Like her hands.

I remember her hands when I was little and we were in church. I used to
push her veins up and down making the lumps disappear for a second or
two and then watching them fill up and turn blue again. I would do this
for the whole hour we sat in church. I remember looking at her hands
and mine and noticing how old hers looked and how smooth mine looked. I
remember her knuckles and her clear coated nails. I remember thinking
that my hands would never look like that because she'd had a hard life
and had to work so much with her hands and that was why they looked so

I remember her hands as they cupped her face when she sat at the counter
late at night and cried and cried over bills she couldn't pay.

I remember her hands when she handed me back my journal after she'd
given it to the Mormom bishop to read because I'd left it open and she'd
seen cuss words in it.

I remember her hands when she dished out dinner right onto the
countertop because my sister and I hadn't done the dishes in three days
and there was no clean plates or silverware. I remember her hands when
she covered her mouth as she started laughing.

I remember her hands the day I got married and each time I had a child.

I remember her hands as she held mine the day I walked into my lawyer's
office to sign the divorce papers and then held me when we got home and
stroked my hair as I cried and cried at the loss of my marriage.

And I remember her hands when she came to visit the last fall, another
ten pounds lighter then when she'd left and I remember watching my
daughter sit with her and play with her hands, pushing the veins up and
down and up and down.

Last night while I lay in bed recovering from my flu my oldest son was
sitting next to me, stroking my hands and moving my veins up and down
watching the lumps disappear for a second or two and then watching them
fill up and turn blue again. He said, "Mom, your hands are just like
Nana's." And I laughed. Because I knew it wasn't true.

I thought they would never be like her hands because I wouldn't have a
hard life and I wouldn't have to work as much as she did. I knew my
hands would never look old like hers.

But today on the bus while I was reading my book, my gaze was drawn to
my hands. And they do look just like her hands. They are getting
older, they are thin and they are veiny and they remind me of my mother.
They remind me of her hard life and how in many ways my life has
mirrored hers. My hands have rocked babies, changed diapers, cleaned
floors and dishes and my hands have raised children and loved and
touched and tickled and soothed. My hands are her hands and one day my
daughter's hands may look just like mine and my mother's.

Looking down at my hands today I realized that no matter what, we age,
we get older, seconds turn into years and today, just today, I realized
that I have my mother's hands.

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