She loved the stories hands tell. What every nick, scar, wrinkle, and freckle represents.
Artists’ hands with paint embedded in the knuckles. Farmers’ hands with dirt under the fingernails, rough patches from years of work, freckles from the sun. Mamas’ hands with pinpricks from quilting needles, wrinkles from being wrung during missed curfews, a little worn from countless hours in dishwater. Guitar pickers with their calloused fingertips, bakers with their burns. She could look at your hands and tell you your life story.
I used to hate my hands, blocky and sturdy with thick knuckles, not dainty and delicate in the least. I always thought mine are better suited for a plow than a piano. I told Mom this once. She held up my hands and called them beautiful. She said, just think of what these hands will do, what they will create, who they’ll care for. These are hands that can accomplish things, that will get things done. Love your hands, she told me, and they will serve you well.
I miss her hands, always warm, always ready to give. She held mine through every childhood fear, every insecurity, every anxiety. She squeezed mine after every amen around the dinner table. Her hand swung my arm back and forth on walks in the pasture and dried so many of my tears. I held hers for hours on her last day here, until she was gone, until the nurse had to make me let go.
May my hands endeavor to give the world a fraction of what hers did.