Last week I watched a remake of a movie I've always loved - Beaches. There is a scene that has always stayed stuck with me, where Hillary, who is dying, is desperately looking for a picture of her mother’s hands.
What is so significant about hands, a mother's hands? Why are they so pertinent in our lives, in my life? I've often mentioned this to my therapist, how I have so many times dreamt of her hands, or looked at them in her pictures.
A mother's hands, I believe, carry a story of the journey of our growth. When I look back to what I can remember, I think of how my mother's hands were there to hold my sister Carrie's hands and mine, through our journey of life. Although our family included a child with special needs, compared to other families, we had riches that money couldn't buy. Our mother’s heart knew only one thing - the love for others and the love for her children. She showed us that love through her hands.
A mother's hands are our first touch when we are born, our first connection to life outside her womb. They are the first to embrace us, to kiss us, stroke our hair, touch our cheek, hold our tiny little hands in hers, and guide our first steps into the world.
As we grow, a mother's hands are there to love us, support and discipline us, strengthen and protect us. We always run to our mother’s hands when we are frightened. It is instinct, it is natural to take her hand; and we hold our mother's hand as a gesture of our love. They are our security. They are there to comfort us when we are hurt, to wipe and bandage our injured knee while her tender hands stroke our cheeks, wiping away our tears and fears. They are there to teach us, mould us, guide us, tuck us into bed, dress us, bathe us, and prepare us for our day at school, effortlessly, rushing us off and waving goodbye from afar.
Her hands are there for our first recitals, our plays, our graduation - always being the loudest clap, applauding and blowing so proudly kisses in the air.
They are there to wipe our brow when we are sick, feeling for fever, hugging our aches and pains away, her hands feeding us with love and care. And every day they work endlessly to prepare the table with meals to please, with her blessed hands and loving heart .
As we grow, they are the hands to comfort us at our first breakup, or clasp our faces in awe, so proud of our accomplishments. They are there to wave goodbye as we leave for the night, and there to hold back the curtains anxiously awaiting our safe return. And on that special day, they are there again, holding our hand, offering their blessing, gently placing a family heirloom in ours, with wishes of love, and a new life of joy and happiness.
If we are lucky, our mother's hands are there to meet our first child, as they met us, to pass along a lifetime of experience and love to our children. They are there to help us through our blues and worries, and anxiously await our calls to visit. Her arms always open and willing.
There is a special bond a mother shares with her daughter...something so sacred no one can touch.
I know this makes sense to me: that my mother's hands have played an important role in my life. They have embraced me and given me the courage I've needed every step of the way. They have taught me the rights and the wrongs of the world, and mostly how to take others in hand with kindness and genuine love.
I now wear the bracelets and ring my mother wore on her hands, treasures that carry her legacy, enriched with a history of love and strength, one she has endowed upon me.
I remember that day I lost my mother and how my heart died with hers...how my first instinct was to take her hand in mine as I sat by her side in tears never letting go. This is what I miss the most of my mother today, her touch, her soft tender hands holding mine, those that led me from child to adulthood....the hands that walked me through the years.
by Barbara Salhany