My mother doesn’t like her hands.
I remember the words she used to describe them when I was a child. Words of resentment, regret, reproach.
She mourned the loss of their once youthful skin, now wrinkling as a rude testament to her age. She loathed the blue veins, “like snakes”, she said, slithering on the surface. I remember how she chided herself for cracking her knuckles all those years, concluding that the changes were somehow her fault. She always believed her nail polish should be clear or nude, so as to avoid drawing attention.
If only my mother could see her hands through my eyes. As a child, I looked at her hands and eagerly wondered when mine would finally be like hers. She could do anything with those hands! They were so capable, so strong. I loved watching how her nimble fingers moved, so skillful and quick. My mother’s hands held more magic than Santa and and the tooth fairy combined because, somehow, they could calm and comfort any pain with a single touch. When her hands were holding mine, there was nowhere safer I could be. To me, they were- and are- so beautiful.
I love my mother’s hands.
I’m getting older now, and I have a child of my own too. My hands are growing wrinkles. Veins are beginning to bulge where I wish they weren’t. I saw them in a photo recently and thought about touching them up a little bit, just here and there.
But I didn’t. Because to one person in this world, my hands are the most incredible, wonderful things in the world. When my child looks at my hands, he thinks they’re beautiful just as they are. And I’m learning to see them that way too.