Saturday, October 10, 2015

Hands of Time

**Originally posted on June 15, 2015**

See the picture above? Those hands represent four generations of my family. Those hands belong to (from the top and going clockwise) my grandmother, my mother, me, and my daughter. And they tell a story.

My grandmother is eighty-eight years old and full of sass. She's the matriarch of our family and presides over every gathering with laughter and snappy comebacks. She has lived a long, sometimes difficult, life and is still chugging along. You can sense the love and sense of humor pouring out of her. Her hands are old and spotted with age, but they are yet strong enough to do what needs to be done and tender when you need comforting. She has always supported and encouraged my dreams. I know she loves me, and I love her right back.

My mother is sixty-five. I am the youngest of three daughters so she may have spoiled me a little. She is the definition of strength and endurance. She lived through domestic violence hell and came out strong. I have never once doubted her love and I marveled at her ability to survive. Her health is beginning to flounder and her hands are beginning to age. But those hands are always there to grasp when I need them, just as they have been all my life. If I need her, she's there. She has encouraged me, sacrificed for me, celebrated with me, and quietly loved me all my life. I hope I'm at least half the mother she is.

My hand is next in line. I will be thirty-four this year. My hands aren't lined with age or knotted with arthritis (yet) but they have seen their share of living. They've been known to throw things when I'm mad, and to cradle a newborn child with trembling tenderness and overwhelming love.  The blood of both my mother and grandmother flow through me, and I hope the strength and wisdom they possess do too. I know I have some of their traits. I have my grandmother's sass and bluntness. I have my mother's loyalty and determination. I consider myself lucky to be like them and can only hope my hands are able to live up to theirs.

And last is my daughter. She's eight and the light of my life. Her hand is so small now and slips easily into mine. It slips just as trustingly into my mother's and grandmother's hands--because she knows they love her. She loves spending time with them: baking cookies, watching movies, and playing Go Fish. Her hands love to hold books and pencils, to do arts and crafts. I can sense the patience in her hands, and can tell you now that she didn't that from me. I know her hand will grow as she does and that one day it won't slip so easily into mine. I dread that day, and I can only hope that she will know that my hand will always be there for her.

As I said before, there are four generations of women represented in the picture. I am grateful that my daughter is able to know the older two. I am grateful they are both still here for me. And I can only hope that I have enough of them in me to guide my daughter in the right direction. And the four of us together? I think we make one heck of a team.


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