Saturday, March 13, 2010

My Mother's Hands

I have my mother's hands. I mean, really, physically. When I look at my hands, I see hers. Especially now that I keep my nails trimmed and natural. We have the same slim fingers, a little crooked. The same pale skin that allows the blue veins to be visible just beneath the surface. Hers are probably a bit more wrinkled than mine now, but my hands are the same hands that my mom had at my age.

A lot has been said about a mother's hands. About their magical ability to soothe, to stroke away sadness, to always be cool on a feverish forehead. My mother's hands had all those qualities and more. They are the most capable hands I have ever known. They can hem a pair of pants and roll out pie dough with equal skill. They are the smallest, but the strongest hands I have ever known. They guided three children to adulthood, steered the family's ship through some rough waters, and have always, always been open.

My mom talks about God a lot. I am not really religious, but I have my own beliefs. I believe that whatever the word God means, if there is a force for good, beauty, and love in the world, it is manifested most and is easiest to see, in a mother's hands. If anything in the world is sacred, it is a the hands of a mother, who can bring peace and healing so swiftly with only her touch. When I think about my mom's gentle yet powerful hands, I know that whatever God is, she has that power in her hands.

I have always wanted to be like my mother. To be the kind of mom she was to me and my brothers. To handle things with the same grace and skill she has always displayed. I don't think I will ever live up the bar she has set. But when I look at my hands, I know that at least, I have a place to start.