The past few years I have noticed one alarming thing about my hands. They are beginning to look just like my mother's hands (sorry, Mom. Don't be mad. It gets better!) They have the appearance of a much older woman - loose, wrinkly skin. Old lady hands. This has bothered me, as I don't want any part of me to age, especially parts that are so visible to the rest of the world! I apply hand cream liberally each day, trying to stop the clock, but it's not working. I will never have long, lean, smooth fingers again.
Today during church, I was examining my hands and thinking about the similarities between them and my mother's hands, and instead of feeling disappointment or sadness, another feeling swept through me, and I began to cry. The feeling was gratitude. As images of all the things that my mother has used her hands to do and to teach me, I began to feel lucky that this is a trait we share.
I have seen my mother's hands help build our house and make it into a home. Her hands have cared for her children, made us dinners, cleaned our rooms, sewn our clothes, bandaged our boo-boos, and wiped our tears.
Her hands have cared for the elderly, served countless church members and neighbors, brought meals to friends, helped care for underprivileged children in another country and even helped those who have passed away be prepared for burial.
Her hands have played the viola and taught us to love music, lead choirs and clapped in accompaniment as we presented concerts and dances in the living room as children.
Her hands have taught me how to sew and crochet, and also shared these skills with my daughters. Her hands have made blankets, shawls, hats, scarves, booties, and beautiful lacy runners that have found a home in the temple.
Her hands are worn because they have spent a lifetime working and serving others. As I examine my own hands and notice the similarities, I count myself lucky to have something that reminds me of the legacy of service that my mother has given me through example. And I hope that I can live up to that legacy.
And I am grateful today to have my mother's hands.