My mother has beautiful hands. I’ve always thought so. Before I had any concept of beauty, I admired her hands. They’re so well formed, not small but petite somehow, soft and tan with unpainted nails. All her fingers are perfectly straight except her middle finger which bends ever so slightly towards her pinkie.
I remember as a kid knowing how lucky I was to have a mother with such soft hands and hoping against hope that my hands would be just like hers.
I inherited a version of her hands. They’re not as soft and my nails are always chipping but the flesh and shape are the same. My middle finger also bends ever so slightly towards my pinky. They make me feel beautiful even when the rest of me is falling apart. I look at my hands and I am reminded of my mother. They make me want to be softer.
As my mother has aged I’ve watched her hands. She complains of brown spots, scratches and wrinkles. I find no fault in them, I find them stunning. I do see the wrinkles, scratches and spots but I can also feel the softness, and see the shape. People spend thousands of dollars attempting to age as gracefully as my mother’s hands.
My mother’s hands did not spend their days indoors smothered with beauty creams. No, she used those hands to break horses, raise children, sell watermelons on roadside stands, climb trees, and travel. My mother used her hands to live well.
Tonight while scratching my little girls back I looked at my hands. They’re growing old. I noticed that there were wrinkles around my knuckles and some little scars. They looked more elegant than ever. I was proud to be using my aging hands to raise a daughter. I always wondered what I would be like as a mother, especially of a little girl.
I look at my daughter’s hands. They are plump and childlike but you can see the perfect structure and if you’re looking, you’ll notice that her middle finger bends ever so slightly towards the pinky.
I wonder if she’ll ever notice that she inherited her hands. I hope she does. I hope they remind her that she is part of something bigger. That she is connected to a long line of women with lovely hands, women who used those hands to break horses, raise children climb trees and really live.
I hope they remind her that she is beautiful and connected. I hope they remind her to be soft. I hope she knows how much life she can live with those hands.