Sometimes, I look down at my hands and I swear I see my mom’s hands. Isn’t it crazy how genetics work? We will often compare our hands — the same crooked pinky fingers and all. Here lately, she talks about how thin her skin on her hands seems to have gotten or how she never had these “age spots” before. She doesn’t seem to see her hands they way I do.
To me, those hands hold the most true form of beauty and love.
You see, those hands they built me — they built us — our family. Those hands offered me my first chance at life, my first feedings, my first of so many hugs and snuggles.
Those hands picked me up as a kid when I had fallen, washed away the dirt and pain, and soothed my worries. Many nights they held my own hand as I fell asleep alongside her bed or rubbed the back of my arm while I nestled between her legs on the couch.
Oh those hands also disciplined, as she and I made our way through my teenage years. But those hands would just as soon catch me in an embrace after I had done wrong. No matter what I put her up against, those hands were always there. She would push me forward to serve my consequences then put those hands around me to remind me she would love me no matter what.
And those hands worked! From stay at home mom at first to back to work because we needed the money. Those hands got our outfits ready for school, made us breakfast, did our hair, then traveled off to her job — where those hands built a career from the bottom up.
Those hands cheered in happiness as we played sports followed with the infamous one clap, “yesss!” Those hands may or may not have wanted to tell off a referee or defending player who was “way too rough” with her baby.
Then those hands set me free. They helped carry all my wants and needs to college and encouraged me. And while I know those hands could of held on forever, they were never more than a phone call away. And when I graduated college, those hands clapped louder than all of the rest.
Soon after that, those hands welcomed my husband into our family. Those hands helped plan my wedding and make it one of the most special days of my life.
And then those hands felt little kicks in my belly. They attended gender ultrasounds and even cleaned my shower when we moved into our house while I was eight months pregnant. Those hands were one of the first sets to hold and love on my baby girls — and they haven’t stopped since.
Almost every week, those hands prepare a homecooked meal for our entire family. And even if she isn’t feeling the best, those hands always get to the store to make sure she has Big Red on hand for us girls and candy bars ready for the grandkids. And ask Bray or Maylie, those hands make the best rice!
And let me tell you about the prayers that those hands have led. My mom’s hands have prayed me through some of the worst times of my life — times I’m not sure I would have made it through without them. They have also prayed me through some of the best times of my life — times I’m sure were better because of those hands folded in prayer.
Throughout my entire life, those hands have been there for me. There came a time when I thought I was too cool to hold my mom’s hand but that truly didn’t last long. There are many times now that I reach out and grab her hand — whether we are out shopping, listening to live music or just holding on extra long to a goodbye hug.
When I look at my mom’s hands now, I think they are more beautiful than they have ever been. Her hands tell a story — a beautiful life built by those hands.
As a mom myself, I can only hope that one day my hands not only look like hers, but also carry as much unselfishness, prayers, and whole-hearted love.
Happy birthday, Mom. I love you.
Sarah (Pitson) Shrader was born and raised in Lima. She is a Lima Central Catholic and Tiffin University graduate. Sarah is a full-time working mama who enjoys writing about her somewhat crazy, always adventurous life as a mother. She lives in Bath Township with her husband, Paul, and their daughters, her writing inspirations, Maylie and Reagan.