A Mother’s Hands

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Personal Journal – November 16, 2009

In love

A Mother’s Hands

Last night, while I finished cleaning the kitchen, I looked down at my hands and thought to myself, “my hands are not pretty.” In fact, they’re quite the opposite. The year’s of farming and raising livestock show clearly in the callouses and scars. Newer scratches and wrinkles are a testament to my love for what I do and how I live my life.

As I stood there staring at my hands, I see dirt embedded from days of working without gloves. My pinkie is cut; an encounter with a piece of fence wire and a piece of skin is missing from one of my knuckles. I notice long healed scars, one where I was bitten by a ewe I was trying to worm and another where I was accidently clipped with hoof trimmers instead of the sheep.

My nails are short and uneven, broken and chipped. My hands are strong, but my nails are not. They peel and chip at the slightest bit of work. They haven’t seen a manicurist in years. And, polish is a luxury in time I can’t afford. I use to go. Before the demands of work and family, farm and animals became my life.

I use to go.

But, that’s okay. These small not so pretty hands are a mother’s hands; hands that work hard and love deep. They are strong yet gentle. They might make most people cringe, but they built the barns that shelter our animals, plowed the gardens that fill our table and laid the pipes that water them all. They chop and stack the firewood that keeps us warm. They scoop grain, throw hay, plant seeds, pick fruit, bring new life to our little farm and care for a home and a child.

They are not pretty hands. They are a mother’s hands.

As I stood at my sink, soap suds dripping from my hands, I had to chuckle to myself. I gave up on pretty hands a long time ago. I traded them in for strong, caring hands; hands strong enough to sign the mortgage for our little farm, firm enough to raise a child alone and gentle enough to keep it all moving forward and balanced.

We make choices in our lives. And, sometimes those choices include sacrifices. I have paid a price for my years of working hard without protection – ugly hands.

But, I don’t care. I traded in my pretty hands for strong hands, a mother’s hands and that makes them beautiful hands.

Creative Commons License photo credit: Tamara van Molken

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