My mom is self conscious about her hands. They have been misshapen by osteoarthritis, a degenerative joint disease that involves pain, tenderness, stiffness and inflammation. She has tried anti-inflammatory medications, corticosteroids and cortisone injections but the disease continues to ravage her fingers. Sometimes she loses her grip. Sometimes she is unable to lift things or hold things. Although her hands are weak, I will always know strength in them.
She graduated from nursing school with those hands. Worked as a registered nurse in a hospital trauma unit with those hands. Performed CPR with those hands. Saved lives with those hands. She clapped those hands at my swim lessons, my judo tournaments, my art shows, my school plays, my violin recitals, my soccer games and my baseball games. She played golf, went deep sea fishing and traveled the world with those hands. She is an amazing cook, an exceptional housecleaner, a skilled seamstress and a loving caregiver with those hands. She raised two sons, buried two husbands and read the Bible with those hands. Anytime I stumbled in life, she reached down and picked me up with those hands.
My mom thinks her hands are ugly. All I see is their beauty.