I have delicate looking hands. Long, slender tapered fingers and small-sized palms. They don’t look like much, but my hands do work. I had acrylic nails in college for a few weeks and hated it. I’ve never been one to get manicures either – it’s just not me… I know plenty of women who do and I am not knocking it, it’s just not for my hands.
As a mom, my hands wipe tears and runny noses, form cookie balls out of dough, pick up toys, braid hair, fold clothes, sign permission slips, sew patches into the knees of jeans, slice apples, carrots, and cut pancakes and steak into bite sizes. They fill cups with milk, open jars of peanut butter, clap and cheer from the sidelines of dance recitals and soccer games. They apply sunscreen on hot days, button up coats on cold days, flip pancakes, and dust cabinets. I submerge them in bath water and dish water, and at the end of the day they tuck my babies in to bed. They comfort with a touch, encourage with a push, reassure with a hug, acknowledge with a wave. I love my mom hands.
In my house, my hands do double duty. No man around the house, and while my dad is stopping by to help me with things, in a lot of ways I’m on my own with the “guy stuff” that I had never really had to worry about. I’m constantly learning new skills. My hands kill spiders (and without Kleenex sometimes), change light bulbs, fill holes, remove and re-install door knobs (when the then four-year-old decides to lock the door and close it behind her when she leaves the bathroom). They mow, spray wasp nests, dig out sprinkler heads, and hang pictures. They haul bags of dirt and mulch, check oil, wash and wax the car, and even dig around in the disposal a few times. They build, maintain, and fix. I am beginning to really embrace my man hands.
My hands are a mess: callouses, tears, and scratches are the norm. But like badges of honor. I wouldn’t change a thing.