Hands

I enjoyed visiting  myself yesterday, so I sought more about me then facts and here’s today’s.

#6 – The Hands have it

handspic
I really do wash my hands 15 – 20 times a day, and lotion them at least 9 times a day. My sister believes I am on the path to OCD-ocity, I believe in very soft and pliable hands….that’s all. (And I wouldn’t be able to move my hands if I didn’t do that)
Really.
I like that photograph a lot, it is a picture of the photographer’s mother’s hands.
The eyes don’t have it for me. It’s the hands.
I memorized my moms hands. It’s something I did consciously, because I never wanted to forget them, so I promised myself I would not, and went about committing to it, by studying small portions at a time. I thought it was ludicrous at the time, but so far I haven’t forgotten.
Let me pat myself on the back with my unbelievably soft and pliable hands.

I posted this 10 years ago.  There is much in it that is true – the hands still have it for me.  I like hands. I feel like you can learn much from paying attention to someone’s hands.
There is also much that is no longer true. I do not wash and lotion my hands so obsessively any longer, I don’t have the time or energy for such things. What I had not revealed in that post, was that I was diagnosed with CREST Scleroderma a year or two earlier, and I probably didn’t know it at the time, but the feeling of tightness in my hands was due to the illness. I should’ve probably been treated with medication but, I attempted to combat the feeling with water and lotion. I still always keep hand lotion close by, and my hands are still soft and pliable. I think the MS medication that attempts to tame my immune system now, also helps to calm the Scleroderma.

I had attempted to memorize my mother’s hands, and although I claimed to remember them back then, it’s no longer the case. I do remember her finger nails, and when I think of her hands I always remember this quote:
According to Tante Atie, each finger had a purpose. It was the way she had been taught to prepare herself to become a woman. Mothering. Boiling. Loving. Baking. Nursing. Frying. Healing. Washing. Ironing. Scrubbing. It wasn’t her fault, she said. Her ten fingers had been named for her even before she was born. Sometimes, she even wished she had six fingers on each hand so she could have two left for herself.”  –Breath, Eyes, Memory.
I heard this quote just one time before I went in search of it. I remember that Oprah read this passage when she chose Edwidge Danticat’s Breath, Eyes, Memory for her book club that month. The statement struck a cord with me so much that I’ve never forgotten it. 
I think it ingrained itself in my mind because the passage reminded me so much of my  mom.  My mother had those fingers also. Always up, always doing something: cooking, cleaning, sewing, listening, advising….something. I still miss her so much.
  So while I don’t remember exactly what my mom’s hands looked like, I know what they stood for, I know what they produced, I know what they accomplished, and that is just as meaningful to me.  February 9 is the day my mom died so many years ago.  I never thought I would survive it, but it feels like I’m still breathing.

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