Years ago, my hubby and I attended a marriage retreat. As part of the closing ceremony, each couple in attendance stood face-to-face while the presider read a prayer over everyone. First, each husband placed his hands face down upon his wife’s palms while the person praying called attention to the qualities and purpose of the husband’s hands in the marriage. Then we did a switcheroo and a prayer was said about the hands of a wife.

There wasn’t a dry eye in the place when the prayer ended. When you pause long enough to look at your spouse’s hands and consider the levity of all they bring to the relationship, the heart check runs deep. Even looking at your own hands and recognizing what you bring to the table is overwhelming. Turns out our hands might be a tad overlooked, all things instruments of love considered.

Because this exercise moved me at the cellular level, I wanted to write a similar prayer for mommas and their kiddos. I encourage all of you to take some time to stand face-to-face with your child and have someone pray these words over your hands. My kids are all adults, so I’m just going to change the tense.

I suppose we could say the prayer over our kids and vice versa, but this sentimental crying machine would never get past the first line. Kleenex is one of my spirit animals.

Here you go . . . 

A Momma’s Hands

These are the hands of your number one fan—hands that pressed you against my heart in ecstasy as I realized you were mine.

These are the hands that swaddled you, airplaned food into your mouth, tucked you in at night.

These are the hands that clip your helmet and steady the bike as you learn to take off without training wheels.

These are the hands that cook your favorite meals, wash stains from your clothes, sew buttons, and drive you where you need to go.

These are the hands that enjoy making you soup, scratching your back, placing a cold washcloth on your forehead when you’re sick.

These are the hands that love to write love notes to you and hide them in secret places.

These are the hands that long to love you up, wipe your tears, and clap like a fool for your victories.

These are the hands that journal about the special times shared, the sorrows and joys, hopes and dreams around having you as a child.

These are the hands that will let you go when the time is right and hug you tight when you come to visit.

These are the hands that will welcome all your friends, your significant other, and your children into a warm embrace.

These are the hands that will continue to fold in prayer each day as I thank God for your existence and plead for your protection, safety, and well-being all the days of your life.

A Child’s Hands

These are the hands of your number one fan. From the moment my fingers first curled around your pinky I knew you were my everything.

These are the hands that seemed so tiny at first but continue to grow stronger each day as I learn to tie my shoes, zip my jacket, color in the lines, swing a bat, play an instrument.

These are the hands that constantly tug on your pant leg or tap you on the back because I need you and only you can help me.

These are the hands that play all day and into the night because you’ve created a loving and safe space for me to grow up.

These are the hands that love to work alongside you as we build forts, bake cookies, dig in the sand, turn the pages of the books we read.

These are the hands that wave goodbye even though I’m secretly longing to hug you hello again.

These are the hands that will turn the ignition and take the wheel without fear because you’ve instilled so much confidence.

These are the hands that will comfort you when it’s time to let me go and I know your heart will worry and ache.

These are the hands that will pick up the cell phone to text or call just so you know how much I still love you.

These are the hands that will embrace you on my wedding day while I tell you how happy and in love I am.

These are the hands that will care for you when you can no longer care for yourself, hands that will hold you while I thank God for who you’ve been in my life.

Originally published on the author’s blog

Shelby Spear

A self-described sappy soul whisperer, sarcasm aficionado, and love enthusiast, Shelby is a mom of 3 Millennials writing about motherhood and life from her empty nest. She is the co-author of the book, How Are You Feeling, Momma? (You don't need to say, "I'm fine.") , and you can find her stories in print at Guideposts, around the web at sites like Her View From Home, For Every Mom, Parenting Teens & Tweens and on her blog