My mother’s hands were not the hands of many women of her day or of today. In her older years her hands were gnarled with arthritis and bumpy from broken fingers and broken bones and wear earned during her years of hard work. My mother had a worker’s hands. She wasn’t afraid to use her hands to dig in her garden, help take care of the farm animals and scrub floors or do other tasks. She often wore gloves and she used lotion religiously, but still her hands were dry and cracked, and her skin as she got older thinned out and bruised easily. I remember looking at her hands and listening to her explanation that nothing she did to take care of them made a difference.
I don’t have worker hands or at least I don’t work as hard as my mother did at manual labor. I too use lotion and try and do the best I can to take care of my hands, but they are my mother’s hands. The skin has thinned with age and they bruise easily. My knuckles show the signs of aging and creaky bones. It doesn’t matter how much lotion I use, if I skip a day my hands become dry and bleed easily. When I look at my hands and see my mother’s hands, it brings me comfort and the blessing of memories.
I was an only child. My mother and I didn’t always see eye to eye. I didn’t understand her and she didn’t understand me. I didn’t always treat her the way she should have been treated but there is one thing we both knew through all our trials and that is our love bound us together through the good and bad.
Mother’s Day is this week, and I miss my mother on Mother’s Day. I don’t think I ever missed a Mother’s Day with my mother. I might not always have spent the entire day with her, but we did see each other on Mother’s Day. And even through my busy life and move, we talked every week — a couple times a week.
My mom didn’t really care about gifts. What she cherished the most was seeing and hearing from her grandchildren on her special days and during the week. To her those were her gifts.
As I ponder Mother’s Day in 2016 I want to offer a little advice for those younger whose busy lives lead them in other directions away from home. I have heard the words in conversations with others, “Oh, my kids are busy. They don’t have time to call. I understand that because they are busy with work and family. They have their life. It’s OK because I want them to be happy and they are so stressed I don’t want to add to it.”
Those words are words of love from a mother’s heart because that is what mothers do, they sacrifice for their children even after their children have left home. Mothers put aside their feelings because they love their family. Until you become a parent and reach older age you might not understand the love it takes for an older parent to put aside feelings on special days because they want their children to have it easier.
As a daughter I would give anything to be able to pick up the phone each week and talk to my mother. I would give anything to be able to ask her about her day and her week. I would give anything to be able to tell her I love her and I am sorry for all the times I didn’t take time to listen to her if only for a few minutes.
The best gift you can give your mother on Mother’s Day is the gift of a call and the promise you will take time to call regularly throughout the year. Ask her about her life and what she is doing. Show an interest in her day-to-day activities. Even in our older age we need someone to be interested in what we are doing. That’s all a mother wants is to be shown a little love and given a little time, even if it is a few minutes on the phone. The next time you think about telling your mom you haven’t called because you are too busy, remember that time waits for no one and there will come a day when you call, and she is no longer able to answer.
Happy Mother’s Day to all the mothers out there. I wish you the gift of feeling loved and cherished because you had and have the most important job in the world, that is raising up children in the way they should go.
As I look at my hands and remember my mother’s hands I still feel the love of a touch, the hands on my brow when I was sick, the feel of her hug and the squeeze of her hand giving me assurance. Happy Mother’s Day in heaven, Mom. I love you, and I love the heaven line to talk to you. It is never busy.