Beginning a letter to you might be one of the most difficult I’ve ever written because you’ve simply done too much for me to clearly remember in detail. However, I’m here to do my best. I hope I give you the honor you deserve.
You’ve opened my computer and typed words that my mind wouldn’t allow me to sleep on during the late hours of night and sometimes early morning- hot coffee in one hand, laptop in the other.
You withstand painful slivers from papers being played with for my own creative amusement.
You frequently turn pages of novels that mold me and make me better- some I never want to end.
You’ve pressed the shutter on my many cameras hundreds of thousands of times freezing memories I could never put into appropriate words.
All of those things have been fuel to my soul.
You’re adorned with rings- some of which were put in their proper place by a proposing man that I gave my forever “yes” to, others gifted to me by me. Still more purchased secondhand, left in antique stores with their old stories forgotten. You give them new stories to tell.
You’re a home for little fingers that need the reassuring touch of a mother. You wipe tears, bandage boo boos, and delicately brush soft hairs away from our children’s faces with the tender sweep of a finger. No other body part is given that same privilege.
You’re a master at giving high fives, peace signs and thumbs ups, and you’ve been known to raise the roof long after that was the hip thing to do.
In past years, you’ve worked at your full capacity, gloved and strong, chiseling away hour by hour, day by day, one patient after the next. You’ve felt the pangs of arthritis, the beginnings of carpal tunnel, and the cracking of skin that has spent far too long enclosed in unbreathable latex without proper hydration. I know that during this long, extended, never-going-back break from dentistry you’ve mended well, but I could do more. How about we begin with a nourishing coat of buttery lotion each day? You deserve it.
Hands, you have been polished on purpose and inked on accident, colored by paints I’ve bought in the makeup aisle and ones I’ve purchased along with all of the other craft goods that overflow out of our studio. From one journal to the next, you have allowed fountain pens to leak on the edges of your fingers letting the world know there is a writer in their midst. Or at least a very messy person.
You’ve been seen picking wildflowers in gardens and on roadsides, bringing joy to my heart. You hold treasured bouquets of dandelions and ragweed each summer and gladly trim their stems to fit in the tiniest of vases. You delight in things of this kind.
You’ve carried the weight of life and death, giving a feeling to sacred space as heaven meets earth.
I couldn’t ever forget how you gently held my dear Powder the moment he took his last breath, holding the weight of his warm head in your embrace. It was a comforting touch for him, an act of gracious love- something no other part of me could provide. You were bruised & broken as I pounded the pavement in my anguish, but you healed faster than my heart, allowing me the means to grieve in words- pen to paper, hand to hand- with the people I love most.
And, once again, you gently hold the soft paws of our sweet boys while they slumber, remembering that you have the ability to show comfort and love in one quiet moment.
You’ve wiped tears, gripped Bibles, and have been clasped together in prayers so desperate that I swear I could feel the earth trembling around me. You’ve also reached as high as my arms would let you in praise & worship, extended so greatly in a soul-reviving kind of joy that it felt like you lifted my body behind a veil into the presence of God Himself. What a gift to be part of both desperation & devotion.
You’ve felt soil under your fingertips after hours digging, tilling, and planting fresh food for our family. And at harvest, you definitely high-fived, thumbs-upped, and… yes, you know you did, so don’t act like you didn’t take part in it, silly Hands-
You raised the roof. I said it.
You’ve felt a warm breeze blow through each finger while driving on back country roads those first few days of spring. Windows down, arms out. Something every part of me looks forward to when the weather warms.
You’ve kneaded dough for bread, rolled out cookies and pies, diced onions, peeled potatoes and helped make kitchen memories with the family. We’ve only had a few minor injuries with sharp utensils, yes?
Hands, you were patient with me as I learned to play the piano- beginning with scales & five note songs and ending with Gershwin, adding a glissando during Rhapsody In Blue wherever I saw fit. You’ve shaken during recitals but always finished strong. It was never your fault when I’d play the wrong notes. We were a good team, blending our faux pas’ with a cute “oops” while segwaying back to the easy notes. You’ve helped me play waltzes and ragtimes, and a hundred too many versions of “Heart & Soul” on my childhood keyboard long before my real lessons began. I wouldn’t trade any of those moments with you.
You’ve quaked in a rush of mixed emotions as you held both positive and negative pregnancy tests, and you’ve caught the tears from both. You’ve swelled and shrunk during pregnancies during which you tentatively said goodbye to a few of your rings. In the end, you had the honor of feeling the crowns of two daughters as they emerged from our body. I don’t know that there’s anything more miraculous this side of heaven.
You help me cook, clean, and fold laundry. You do your part to make “tickle toes” fun. You change diapers, wipe messes, and give me a place to lay my head when I feel overwhelmed with the stage of life I’m in. You do these things daily.
I’m realizing now how much I’ve taken you for granted, but now that I’m aware, I’ll be sure to press pause each day to whisper you a simple “thank you.” I’m so glad you’re with me.
Worn & torn, yet you still remain youthful despite all you’ve been through in these 34 years. After considering just these few things, I don’t think I’ve ever loved you more.
Cat scratches, chipped polish, freckles, new wrinkles, and that interesting left thumbprint from years of taking comfort in “Suck-a-thumb.” You’re beautiful.
Do me one last favor for the day, will you? Help me to vigorously, loudly, and enthusiastically applaud you. It is in this moment of finally appreciating your greatness that I deem you worthy of a genuine slow clap for a job wonderfully well done.
Thank you, Dearest Hands.