My Mother’s Hands

My mother’s hands are bumpy.

They are a sort of taupe color.

She wears a chunky blue ring.

She wears a sapphire wedding ring. Because she lost her diamond nearly a decade ago.

My mother’s hands show some age, tell some stories. They are not perfect. Neither is she.

Her pinky on her left hand doesn’t line up for roll call, quite like it should. When the other three stand at attention, straight and close together, it juts out slightly. It’s just a little bit rebellious, pulling away it’s own chosen direction. My mother is a bit rebellious too.

Her uncooperative pinky is the result of an accident playing football with the guys.

My mother has a tiny scar on her middle finger. It’s from that time the white china bowl of grapes fell from the fridge and shattered. When she cleaned the mess, she cut her finger with a sliver that had bacteria on it. My mother sometimes had difficulty cleaning messes. It took quite a while for the finger to heal. During that time she did hand therapy exercises that left her giving us all the old familiar gesture, as Simon and Garfunkel might say.

She loves Bridge Over Troubled Water. She loves Neil Diamond, Barbara Streisand, Nana Maskouri, and Josh Groban. Her hands would turn the dial up and blast the oldies station.

On Saturday, her hands would open the CD of Les Miserables and put it in the stereo to play while we prepared the house for Sunday lunch guests.

When I was young and upset, or having trouble sleeping, those hands rubbed my back while she sang me All for Jesus.

Today her fingernails are probably painted red and chipped a little bit from her last manicure. I don’t think she wears a watch any more. Time has a different meaning in retirement from the role of stay at home mom.

My mom’s hands often hold a blanket. She calls it her doo-doo and laughs at the spectacle of a grown woman that might clutch a blanket like a toddler.

My mom’s hands fix lipstick smudges and poof the back of her curled hair. My mom’s hands held mixing spoons, brooms, laundry baskets, grocery bags and jingling car keys a thousand times over. They carried books and babies.

My mom’s hands look large and feel immortal as she holds the tiny palm of my newborn daughter’s hand. And I pray that they would be so that she could feel my daughter’s hands lengthen and reach for life’s biggest, clumsiest, most precarious toy: time.

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