Sometimes I look down at my hands and am shocked at how they appear.
They are attached to me but they don’t look like my hands anymore. I realize as I’ve gotten older that they are my mother’s hands.
And this upsets me because my mother’s hands are old. I am not old.
Yet we have hands of similar size and shape; the finger nails are the same width, and hers like mine, tend to crack and break.
The veins that carry our blood are coming closer to the surface as I age, and are more prominent than when I was a little girl that slipped my young soft hand into her older firm palm.
While my hands are still spot free, there are scars. Scars from knives, from burns, from the long ago cuts and scrapes of a tomboy. Brown spots dot her thin skin, and cuts don’t heal as quickly as they used to, her hands are scarred also, and the knuckles are getting gnarled from the years.
Recently while I flipped through a photo album I found a funny picture of my brother trying muzzle me. In the bottom right corner, almost slipping by unnoticed, is an old, wrinkled, familiar hand. It looks like my mother’s hand but no, she was younger then, it can’t be. It’s my grandmother’s hand, looking much like my mother’s hands do today.
As I lean in for a closer look I realize, as my mother must have once upon a time, that my mother’s hands are not her hands either. They are her mother’s hands.
Their hands have cared for many generations of children. They have prepared countless meals for friends, family and strangers. They have been dipped relentlessly in water as they washed endless amounts of laundry and dishes. They have worked tirelessly for many, many years.
These are not hands to fear. These are hands to embrace.