With his tiny finger, my grandson traced the raised veins on the back of my hand. His touch was gentle, and with it came a flood of warm and tender memories. Those conspicuous veins are a family trait. I have my mother’s hands.
My mother never liked her hands, with the protruding and noticeable veins. She called them,”The hands of an old peasant woman.” She often wore heavy gold bangles and polished her fingernails bright red, in an attempt to make them look prettier.
As a child I would sit next to my mother as she read. I would reach over and run my fingertips along the ridges on the back of her hands. I would look down at my own hands and could already see the similarities.
Years later I sat in church, my daughters at my side. While we listened to the sermon, they explored the valleys and crests that stood out so boldly on my hands. I could see them place their hands next to mine, comparing them, just as I had done with my mother.
My Daughters often entertained themselves with the raised relief map of my hands. They would pinch the loose skin, pulling up on it and count to see how long it took for the skin to fall back into place. Then watch as it cascaded back down, like ripples in a lake. They laughed and said it was weird. “Just wait” I warned them, “ Your time will come”.
Years later my girls would compare their hands first with my mothers, then with mine. As they looked at the three dimensional elevation of veins, the shaded contours of bones and the knuckle mountains, they knew their destiny. I laughed when the predictions came true.
I love the continuity that shines through our hands. When I watch my daughters read, or curl one another’s hair, I see those “old peasant woman” hands at work. I am proud of the generational trait.
When I miss my mom, I paint my nails red and throw on some bangles. Even though she is no longer here, I know she is always with me, because I have my mother’s hands.