Sunday, February 21, 2010

My Hands, Our Hands

I haven't been wearing gloves a lot lately. As I was leaving mom's the other day she asked, "do you have gloves?" I do, several pair in fact, but I haven't been wearing them. I find I don't need them as frequently. My tolerance to the cold, how my hands feel in gloves, how having gloves on make it difficult to retrieve my bus card, so and and so on, being among the reasons I generally pass on donning my gloves, lately.

The downside is the effect the wind and cold have on bare skin. Can we say dry? I'm prone to dry anyway and with the eczema (though these days it is looking more like psoriasis) adds kindling to the fire. I must stay moisturized. Even more now that I haven't donned gloves much lately.

Anyhoo...I was looking down at my hands during one of my commutes in recent days and I saw an unfamiliar, un-settling sight, my mother's hands hanging beyond the cuffs of my coat. My mother's nearly seventy year old hands. Though, admittedly, if you were to look at her hands, heck, look at her, you likely wouldn't peg her to be nearly seventy, but I know what lies beneath the surface. I know the pain (physically and emotionally) she endures each day. I know the frustration she suffers as she works to maintain her independence. I know that each crack and crevice invading her once smooth skin is the result of decades long battles.

I know.

And now, I see those hands on me. Mind you, they only surface when over-dry and exposed to the elements. But still, they are there.

My hands are strong, still. My mom's are weak. My fingers are straight and relatively nimble (practice, practice, practice). Some of mom's are curved due to arthritis and not as sure as they once were, "please excuse the errors" she types at the end of all her notes. I can't think of mom's hands without picturing dad's. I know he has at least one curved finger also. His due to a gunshot wound suffered many, many years ago.

I think about our hands. I look at the long, strong fingers of my son and of my daughter. I wonder what shape their hands will take over the years. How different they are even today. I wonder how their eventful lives will reflect in their hands. Will they one day see my hands hanging out of the cuffs of their coats?

Thinking about my hands, my mom's and subsequently, dad's hands, and those of my son and daughter, put me in mind of my grand-mother's hands. My maternal grand-mother as she is foremost in my memory, and closer to my heart. I think about her hands, folded over and under one another as she surveyed whatever issue brought before her. Those hands, they were very, very strong nearly to the very end. I remember as her hand was placed under the sheet in the final moments of her final day.

I remember being able to take her hand in mine to say good-bye, one last time.

The flash of memory and the thoughts that tumbled forth, puts me in the mind to be mindful of my hands, and to treat them, well, better.



  1. Yeah, my hands are looking old too, I haven't been taking care of them this winter either. Also I have ezcema which is relitively new (1 year now) & it is SO itchy when it pops up. Everywhere!

    Pass the grease.

  2. I love this post! And also remember my grandmother's hands. And my Mom's as she ages.

    I was sitting at my desk the other day. I never wear loves either. And I looked down at them and thought how dry they looked. But keep forgetting to take lotion to work.

    Heaven help us when I get my first liver spot. I am going to freak out!

  3. This post made me smile and tear up in equal measure. Beautiful.


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