Saturday, October 15, 2011

My Mother's Hands

They always say you can tell a woman is aging when she looks down and sees her mother's hands.  I did that five years ago and thought when did that happen?   I never really thought I looked like my mother.  No one ever told me I was the spit and image of her growing up, aside from the fact people said my brother and I resembled Mom's side and my younger sister and my youngest brother were my dad's.  I had my mother's brown eyes, we all did.  My dad's green eyes would wait a generation and be found in my son, Korey's direct gaze.  I inherited my mom's hair, fine and straight as the proverbial string.  She got it from her mom, my grandma, and I passed somewhat follicle challenged hair to Annie.  But I got the Walter nose, and the Walter voice which I would often say gets me heard at every auction I ever attended.  These things I knew early on, but it was the more subtle inheritances that would come into play later on.

After a ride on a four wheeler in my early forties, I had a left ankle that ached for weeks.  Through the following fall and into winter the ankle and foot would ache more and finally after consulting a podiatrist, it was found my dad had also given me the gift of flat feet.  Oh goody.  After trying rehab for the ankle, surgery, and finally just a set of good orthotics, I resigned myself to the fact I wouldn't be wearing spiked heels or even bunny slippers much any more and that sensible shoes would be the rule for me from then on.
I marched through my forties just trying to figure out motherhood as my kids left home, the changing of life in many ways and how in the heck to deal with it.  I had depressions, one a real doozy, but somehow slogged through to my fifties.

After I hit the big 5-0, I began to notice that my skin was doing funny things.  The fact that it was losing feature and gaining wrinkles by the boat load, I couldn't talk away as laugh lines I had earned in a good way.  Nope, it was crow's feet, and smile lines and lines that went vertical instead of horizontal and began traveling on down my face.  I was pretty sure I could handle all that, but when the age spots started erupting on the sides of my face, it wasn't Mom I looked at but Dad as those were all from him.  More goody.
Spider veins I got on the sides of my legs in the exact same places my mom had them.  Annie is so thrilled with that to look forward to.  And now my hands which seem to be aging in warp speed, as every picture seems to scream at me.  So, I thought I had my mother's hands, but when I looked at her tapered, still polished nails, her hands actually looked better than mine.  I didn't have my mom's hands after all but a grandma's hands that came by way of my dad.  The arthritis in my hands which plagues me increasingly in swollen joints during the cold months is showing in my hands.  Looking at a picture of an otherwise smiling me, in which I thought I looked danged good for my age, showed the flaw in that image, and it was my hands.  Looking at my hands I immediately thought of my dad's hands, large knuckled and clumsy in trying to do delicate things he still always had been able to do the intricate things his daily life as a farmer had required.  Yup, my hands were his hands in female form.  Its not something I'm crazy about but if I can continue to go through life with only this vanity besieging me, I'm okay with it.

You all think, I am only concentrating on what I inherited that was less than appreciated, but I know better.  I got my mom's artistic sense.  Her love of writing and my dad's love of telling a good story combined in me.  I got his head for math, though I never really liked having it.  My mom gave me the love of flowers and gardens, my dad, the outdoors and to look at the place I lived with fresh eyes, every day.  My parents gave me a sense of history and where I come from and have always lived.  I hope they gave me a kind heart, and left in place, the golden rule.  These aren't the things you can read on my face but they are who I am. 

I may not have my mother's hands and may wish I did, but I hope I have their fortitude and toughness when the world tips in ways I couldn't anticipate.  They gave me a firm foundation in Faith, and the heart to keep seeking God in new ways and to re trust the Promise.  They gave me the world to seek it out and make my way.  I think I got the best of all of them, and hope I can give the best to those who follow after me...

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