Wanted to slow down and be mindful. So I sat still and just looked at my hands. Then I wrote about it.
What do I say about my hands when first looking at them. Hmmm. “Baggy at the knuckles and appearing older than their stated age.” Yes. That. I know. It sounds like an awful way to describe these hands that have been a part of me for forty-four years and counting but it’s true. When I hold them flat, those redundant folds over my fingers become more pronounced. The hand sanitizer I use repeatedly has left them dry which doesn’t help. Lord knows I won’t be on the Jergens commercials or any such thing with these suckers. That said, I love them. Instead of feeling fretful and running to the nearest beauty counter for creamy anti-aging concoctions, I look at my hands and feel connected, empowered, and affirmed.
That part, the baggy knuckle part, comes from my mother. The joke in my head has always been that we have the faces of a brand-new mamas and the hands of great-grandmamas. “Old lady hands” my mom has said with a laugh of the veiny lattice strongly handed down from her side of the family. Deanna didn't get those hands. Once, as I lamented about them at the kitchen table, she shook her head over her crochet needle and chuckled,“You get that from your mama.”
That I did.
Weathered hands that look like they’ve been working harder and longer than they had. They do work hard, but not hard like they look. I’ve milked no cows, tended to zero fields. These hands have no excuse. But still. I love them because they tell the story of my lineage. The similarity shared between my mother’s hands and my own has always made me weirdly happy. My hands give me a way to see her every single day. Which means as long as I’m alive, I always will.
A few years ago, Miss Hanna in the nail shop says my nail beds are “nice and long.” When I told her I had old-person hands, that was her response. Then she explained. “You have beautiful nail bed. Even when you break nail and have short nail it look good.” And she smiled and said that while clipping down my other eight nails to match the two broken ones that she’d been tasked to manicure that day. Ever since that time, I’ve looked at my nails differently. Like they are something lovely.
My wrists are tiny. Dainty, actually. I use that instead of tiny because it sounds more endearing. My sister Deanna used to say that she had the wrists designed for kicking somebody’s ass at 3 o’clock after the school bell rang and that my younger sister JoLai and I had wrists meant for dialing a payphone with her on the other line at 3 o’clock after the school bell rang. That is, if an ass needed to get kicked.
Interesting fact about me: I think I’ve removed my wedding bands less than ten times in the eleven years I’ve been married. I almost never take them off. Three times were when I had them buffed and shined up at a jeweler. Another was when they were being appraised for our insurance. Right before I delivered Isaiah in 2005, the obstetrician considered a cesarean section. Harry carefully pulled my ring off then and quickly slid it back on once it became clear that our son was coming the good old fashioned way. The other few times I can’t remember but what I do know is far more frequent is Miss Hanna asking me to remove them for her to apply lotion to my hands. “No thanks,” I always say. “I’m good.” And like always she just shakes her head and tells me how I’m going to mess up my pretty rings and make them look old.
And you know what? She’s probably right. But what she doesn’t know that old and pretty rings would fit in just right with my hands. Which just happen to be both of those things already.
That's all I've got.
Happy Monday. On wards so hoping my writing block will unblock.