“Your hands have changed.”
This was the observation made by my 13-year-old daughter tonight as she sat across from me at the kitchen bar while I cooked dinner.
“They still look like yours,” she explained. “They’ve just changed over the years.”
I couldn’t help but smile.
We’ve come to find amusement in this sort of candid scrutiny from our middle daughter. She’s the child in which we pour our parenting hearts out regarding the importance of choosing friends wisely and the significance of listening to her instincts should she ever find herself in a questionable situation. She’ll sit through our entire spiel, nodding her head in agreement as she studies our faces, attentive and seemingly focused the whole time. And then, just as we believe we are indeed getting through to her, she randomly proclaims things like “Your nose is slightly crooked Dad,” or “Mom, you should let me pluck your eyebrows!”
The truth is, I love this about her. And quite frankly, she made my night. Her casual, sincere observation gave me pause and drew out of me wisdom and personal reflection that I’ve never deeply considered until this evening.
These hands are my Mother’s hands.
They are soft and sun-kissed, just as I remember hers to be as she slathered me in sunblock, poolside as a child. Tonight I tied on my apron, pulled my hair over my shoulder and watched as my Mother’s fingers gently, assiduously worked a braid, just as I watched her do countless times for my baby sister when we were little girls. I was folding my kitchen towels this evening. I watched my Mother’s hand move across the cotton, smooth out the wrinkles and neatly stack them one-by-one in the pantry basket. And I recognize that thumb swiping sweet potato from the corner of my son’s lips this evening at the dinner table. These are my Mother’s hands.
A friend shared strawberries with us earlier this week. I decided to whip up a pie for dessert tonight. I reached into the flour jar, sprinkled some on the countertop and pulled out my Granny’s old wooden rolling pin. As I began working the dough, the sound of the squeaking pin takes me back to my childhood on Keystone Furnace Road (I always loved the name of that road) and into my Granny’s country kitchen. Once green and vibrant, the wooden handles on the pin are now faded, worn and just slightly bent from decades of turning out deliciousness for family feasts. Yes. I’m familiar with the protruding sharpness of that one specific bone on these petite wrists and I recognize these pronounced, white knuckles as I grip the pin tightly, firmly pressing down on the dough before me. These are my Granny’s hands.
And as I sit here tonight scratching these words out, pencil to paper, I recognize this handwriting. The curve of the “r” and the tail on the “t” and I know these strong nails and this familiar crease in my palm. Signatures of a soul who’s creativity will continue to live on through generation after generation. These are my Gram’s hands.
I’m grateful to know my daughter sees the little things about me, like my hands and the way they’ve changed over the years. For these little things will become big things, cherished things later in life.
Gram & Granny… This picture was taken when I was 15-years-old, right before I went to Homecoming with my Hunk… Yes, The same Hunk I married 7 years later. 😉