I have my mother's hands. For the longest time, that seemed to be the only part of her I could see in me. I have my father's eyes, nose, smile, and his teeth including the front bottom tooth that stubbornly defied 4 years of braces and drifted back to its original location. Now I see a bit of her nose in the bridge of mine and the infamous "Moore Family Bottom" pear shape which has ripened as I've aged. But I always knew my hand were exact replicas of hers.
Wrinkly knuckles. Veiny. Lined and decorated, a map of my past and my future. Smooth, dusty nails. She keeps hers filed to a soft point, just a little bit of white showing whereas I keep my nails blunt and short, a habit from when I played piano. Now my short nails are practical, easy to wash away paint and dirt, won't snag on yarn.
My husband once picked up my mother's hand and in amazement declared "It is like holding your daughter's!" After that, I became aware of the sensation of knowing myself by holding her hand. My fingers experiencing the feel of their own substructure. Bony and smooth. Delicate but solid. Like holding a bird; aware of the intricate latticework of tiny bones and sinews woven tightly together. Cool to the touch.
This is what I remember as a child: the reassuring touch of my mother's hands upon my skin. The chill of her palm upon my fevered forehead; her hands circling the surface of my stomach, as if to brush away the pain within; firm knuckles racking across my cheeks, smearing away salty tears.
And now a mother myself, I know her secret. What empowered her hands was touching and knowing the comfort of one's child beneath them. The heat of that flesh burning into my palms, brushing over skin sleek and silky as a seal"s. A perfect union of warm and cool, tough and tender. Balance known through touch if only temporarily.
Hands feeling their way to meaning. Placing my palms upon the window pane, I sense the weather outside. I thread my fingers through the thicket of my hair as if to grasp myself in this moment. I slide my hands over the fluff and fur of my dog, brushing the backs of my hands against the velvet soft of his muzzle. My fingers linger in the luxuriousness of his dense ruff, glide over the ovals of his paws, imagining the worlds he travels when I am away. My hands guide me through my day. Smooth river rock in my palm soothes me. Fingertips brush tree bark like reading Braille, the natural history of a place mine to decode. I rest my hands upon the earth and feel her breath. Spongy ground of Spring pulsating with life. The hard ground of Winter reminding me to travel inward for strength and nourishment.
The hands carry the energy of our hearts out into the world. My palms rest on the hollow between my daughter's shoulder blades, alert to the pulse of her heart, the movement of her breath, the flutter of her angel wings. Through touch, I feel love. With touch, I send my love back.
Hopefully, I will have a little lull tonight to pick up my crayons and scribble away. Yes, I am even behind on my 5 minute-a-day Sparkles course. But I am enjoying my clean floors.