Apparently, I have my mother's hands.
When I was young, church was not the most interesting place for me. No fault to the pastor or for my parent's lack of trying, I was just easily distracted. The windows, what was outside the windows, the hymnals, the ceiling, basically anything that caught my eye could pass the time for at least a few minutes. Once a spider making it's way down the aisle drew quite a bit of attention for me and a few other young ones. Throughout the seasons, I had one favorite distraction.
My mother's hands.
My mother had, and still does, I think, have beautiful hands. An odd thing, yes, but still, very true. Her long fingers and the rings that were displayed on them were often looked to as a church distraction for me. I'd watch her diamond sparkle, fantasizing about my very own one day. When she played the piano, those long fingers moved deftly between the keys. Her nails were always kept relatively short, but were smooth, rarely painted. My first lasting memories of her are centered around the time she was pregnant with my youngest brother. She was about thirty-five at the time.
She was never one to spend a lot of time on herself, either from lack of time or the fact that she was brought up to not focus on "spoiling" yourself. And yet, her hands, and arms were always soft, gentle and yet, strong. I loved them.
As I sat in church the other day, still prone to some time of distraction, I began to give Josh a back scratch as he leaned forward in the pew. I looked at my hand. It was familiar, of course, but instantly, I was brought back to the old pew where I had once been.
My own hands have changed dramatically over time. Diapers, dinners, winters, summers, games, cleaning and age all have had their way with my hands. More wrinkled than I had remembered them recently, my first thought was, "Dude, I need moisturize these babies more!" And then I thought... they looked like hers. The way I remember them. Maybe not perfect in the world's standards, but beautiful, just the same.
As I thought more about it, I think what really triggered that memory, was the other reason why I liked her hands. She used those slightly wrinkled hands to give us those gentle touches that let us know we were loved. Back scratches in church were just one way of many that we felt the love she didn't always find time to say with words. Allowing us to examine her hands, hold them, squish the skin to watch to pop back into place...all ways to show us it we were loved.
There was an odd "full-circle" feeling to that moment in church. A recognition of what my mother did to show us love, but also, that here I was, where she had been, so many years ago, doing the same thing: Taking my family to church, showing love to my son through touch and seeing my own hands become my mother's hands.
I wonder if she ever had that same moment.
I have a feeling I am in for many more of those "look where life has taken me" times ahead. It's good to know that the road I travel is not one that is unpaved, or at least, untrodden. Motherhood truly is a journey. I guess one whose roads often come around the same bend every so often.