My Mother’s Hands

I seem to spend a lot of time looking at my hands.

I see them out of my peripheral vision as they fly across the computer keys, but I really see them when I need to pause and think about my next words.

I rest them flatly on the keyboard when I am thinking.

And I look at my hands.

And I think about her hands.

My mother’s hands.

Her hands are not tiny and delicate.  She does not have neatly manicured nails.

My moms hands are rough.  Soft, but rough with work.

They have spent countless hours in bleach and lysol and and dishwater.

They have pruned up while scrubbing baby fingers and toes.

She has cut and packaged steaks and burger and roasts that were destined for someone else’s dinner plate.

She has folded countless loads of laundry and smoothed many sheets across beds.

They are the hands of someone who knows hard work.

Though our family is not full of hugs, she has never been stingy with loving touches.  Her fingers would glide over my arm in church; her hand across my baby brother’s tiny toddler back while he watched TV; her palms would cup my younger brother’s small hand while she read him a story.

Those hands held the books that incited my love affair with words.  They pulled and brushed my straight, blond hair into pony tails. They picked up fuzzies and hairs off my shirts to keep me looking just right.

Her blunt fingers strung needles and bobbins that made clothes for my dolls and the blankie I slept with each night.

She has wrinkley, thin hands.

They are not pretty.

They are beautiful.

My own hands rest on my computer keys.

The nails are short because longer nails click funny on my keyboard.

My knuckles are wrinkled and the veins are visible on the palms and tops of my hands, and small lines are beginning to etch themselves permanent homes everywhere.

Like my mom, there is a permanent indention where I wear my wedding band.  The difference is that hers is so much deeper, much more…there.  Mine is still a beginning.

They have washed dishes for other people.

They have handled hot parts off a paint line.

They have smoothed paper and photographs into countless albums.

They have flipped through countless essays and tests and quizzes and journal entries.

And there on my right middle finger is the large callous made by many years of pen to paper.

Now those hands aren’t wielding highlighters or pens or pencils.  Not as often.

More frequently they run across computer keys.

But they also bathe baby limbs…

and scrub floors…

and put toys back in their temporary put away position…

and wipe and wipe and wipe and wipe and wipe…

and trace the outline of a little boy’s face while he sleeps.

They are not pretty…

but they are my mother’s hands.
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About Katie

Just a small town girl...wait no. That is a Journey song. Katie Sluiter is a small town girl, but she is far from living in a lonely world. She is a middle school English teacher, writer, mother, and wife. Life has thrown her a fair share of challenges, but her belief is that writing through them makes her stronger.


  1. And your hands. Are your mother’s hands. Which are beautiful.
    I love LOVE this post, Katie. I hope your mom gets to read it.
    What an awesome gift to her.
    And you, my friend, are an awesome gift to your family.

  2. Beautiful. I love this. And I ALWAYS see my mom’s hands in mine.

  3. wow what a beautiful post! Lovely.

  4. Wow, this post had me thinking about my Granny. She died of cancer about 13 years ago. When we visited her in the hospital during her final days, she would take turns holding all of our hands. She couldn’t speak at that point, but she would stare at our hands as if she was memorizing them. There is something beautiful about hands, and they always seem to tell a story. Thanks for posting this! :o)

  5. Love this! Just lovely!

  6. So easy to really picture your mother’s hands, you have a way with words. I have my grandmother’s hands…big and wrinkly and knuckle-y. And I have passed those hands onto Ryann.

  7. I have my mother’s hands too. They are hands way older then their years. Skinny, veiny, dry with big wrinkly knuckles. But they too are beautiful. Because they are uniquely ours.

    Very moving post.

  8. I have goosebumps!! What a beautiful post!

  9. that is unbelievably beautiful.

  10. You took my breath away my dear. Bravo. Beautiful BEAUTIFUL post.

  11. What a lovely compliment to your mother.. beautiful! I hope to be the mother mine is!

  12. One should NEVER eat while reading your posts! YOU are my personal chocking hazard…. and I mean that in the deepest, sincerest, warm and loving way! Usually I am choking with laughter when I read about your life experiences, happy that I am not alone in these trials and tribulations. But not today, the more I read this post, the more my eyes welled up and the tighter my throat got while eating my lunch. What a LOVELY tribute to your Mom. I sincerely hope that you have shared this with her. This is a post that I wish for from my children someday. And now, because of this post I don’t think that I will ever look at my hands again in the same way. Thank you SO much for sharing!

  13. This is so lovely, I usually only think about how I yell or lose my patience like my mother. Somehow it makes me feel close to her though…

  14. This was a beautiful post. Very well written. Visiting from the red dress club. Have a wonderful weekend!

  15. I wrote a post almost exactly like this! It’s amazing the things we notice! 🙂

  16. Beautiful!

  17. Oh, I love this.

    My mother’s hands are one thing in my memory and another thing now. I remember her hands as thin and delicate, with long graceful fingers that spoke to me of a sophistication and poise my own stubby hands would never achieve. Today? My mother’s hands are still graceful, but worn and toughened by years of working on a ranch.

    My hands are still stubby in my mind.

    But they are beautiful to me now as I look at them and see in them all that I have done with these hands.

    And so in my hands, I see my mother’s hands.

    And MY mother’s hands.

    A lovely post, Katie.

    Truly lovely.

  18. What a beautiful post.
    Our hands. One of the greatest gifts we have.

  19. oh this makes me miss my momma, her hands with big gnarled knuckles that rub my feet and pat my back. i love my momma’s hands.

  20. What a beautiful story. I recently noticed my mother’s hands as well. I do notice her hands and mine are becoming more similar. It is funny, you grow up thinking you will be nothing like your mother, yet when you get older and start to notice simple things about her and yourself, you realize that in some ways (and not for everyone) it is more a blessing than anything.

  21. i am late to read this, but better late than never. your mother sounds like a beautiful woman with a huge heart. Kinda like someone else I know, katie dear!


  22. Ohhhh this is spectacularly written. THe entire time I thought of my own mother’s hands and my grandmother’s hands. Farm women…hard workers. Hands that can garden and sew, can and blanch, harvest and fix. Hands that have loved and lost. Hands that have touched a loved one for the last time. I loved this post…thanx for sharing!


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