“My hands are getting so old,” my mother said. “They’re ugly.”
We were sitting together having a glass of wine, and she held the glass up as she looked at them.
I looked at them too. I didn’t see ugly hands.
I saw hands that had rocked me to sleep.
Hands that reached for mine as I took my first steps.
Hands that wiped away my tears. On my first day at school. After I fell and skinned my knee. The first time my heart was broken. When I lost my baby.
Hands that clapped for me. My first play. Piano recitals. Graduation.
Hands that were always cool when I had a fever. That stroked my hair after a bad dream.
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Hands that cooked and cleaned. Ironed and sewed.
Hands that worked so hard for so many years caring for other children, and loving them like her own.
Hands that held mine.
As we ran along the beach, chasing waves. As we walked and cried together. As we danced our mother-daughter dance at my wedding.
Hands that made our house a home after it was just the two of us.
Hands that provided for us for so many years.
Hands that can make any plant bloom.
Hands that have lifted me up when I wasn’t strong enough to lift myself.
Hands that held my baby boy the day he was born. And rocked him. And reached for his when he took his first steps. And soothed his fevers. And clapped when he played soccer.
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Hands that shaped not just my life, but who I am as a person.
Hands that shaped my heart.
Mama, I hope you know your hands could never be ugly. A few wrinkles could never take away the strength and the beauty of those hands.