The Hands

The other day I was visiting my mom and sat with her while she was trying to eat. She looks very thin these days and you can tell it mostly in her arms and hands. As she slowly used her fork to pick up her food, the task of reaching her mouth seemed daunting. I just stared at her and held her other hand and wondered what amazing things these hands used to do in her lifetime. She used to do it all, just like I do today with my children and in my life. She held us, bathed us, fed us, cleaned everything and everyone, made fabulous dinners and desserts, created flower arrangements coveted by all. She used to drive us everywhere and spank us when we deserved it. Made our beds, wiped our tears, pruned the yard, did her hair and make-up, hung our clothes. She ironed my dad's shirts, taught us how to clean a toilet using our hands and always said that a job was not completely done well with one hand only. She wrote our notes to school, signed our Christmas cards, and tied our shoes. She set the table for family gatherings, swept the floors, washed the dishes, and did it all over again and again. Yet today, feeding herself takes her a bit longer to do and that is one of the few things she can use her hands for. I held her hand that day, a bit lifeless than it used to be, but I quickly remembered all she had ever done for me in my life with her hands. When I was younger I used to hold her hand in church and stare at her pretty ring. I would put our palms together and outline my hand in hers. Athena did that the other day and my eyes filled with tears as I remembered my moment with mom. And all these memories filled my heart with that one touch that day at the kitchen table. One touch. Two hands. A lifetime of love.


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