One of my favorite memories of childhood is having my parents tuck me into bed. They would calm my busy, worried, energetic spirit by singing to me while gently, lightly stroking my face, arms, or hair with their fingertips. When my mom would do this, I loved the tickle of her rough, dry, fingertips along my arms. I know that she lamented her dry, peeling hands- and still does- since she constantly uses hand therapy treatments in attempts to soften them. But to me, her touch was soothing and perfect, dry hands and all. As a young girl, I remember wishing that one day, I would have what I thought of as "mommy hands." I think to me, that would somehow mean I had become like my mom, and managed to emulate one of my biggest heroes in real life.
This year, God blessed me with a daughter. She has, predictably, changed my world in so many ways, and opened my eyes to many "secrets" of mommyhood's ups and downs, bringing me closer to my mom than I've been in many years. And as God has been working in my heart lately, He's shown me how to be a better mom, wife, and homemaker, serving my family with diligence and hard work, trusting God for energy in long, weary days, and developing a humble, servant spirit that does dishes and laundry ceaselessly without complaining (at least not too much). As I go from diaper change to stain treatments to laundry to dishes to cooking to diaper change again, I wash my hands many, many times. And as I fight to slowly develop these worthy habits of wash and work, my fingertips have slowly chapped and peeled, until one day this past week, I looked down and realized -- I have "mommy hands." And I realize now more than ever just how much work, loads and loads (laundry loads, dish loads, trash loads, sweeping and scrubbing and dusting loads) of work my mom did to earn those hands. I can never fully thank Mom for the hours of service she has poured out for our family over the years, but I realize now how incredible she is, to work a part time job, keep a (remarkably) immaculate house, homeschool three kids, feed us healthy food, and still have energy to gently, sweetly, stroke my arms until I fell asleep at night. She never complained about being overworked, but I know she must have been, and yet she always had smiles, hugs, and love for each of us.
Mom, you have always inspired me, now more than ever when I am starting my own family and realizing how much you have given to yours. Thank you for your mommy hands, for everything that made them dry, and for the love that made them gentle.