These Hands

As I ease my body into Warrior II, I spy a hand in front of me. It is wrinkled and crepey and splattered with age spots. I scream silently in my head. What the hell?! What is this?

Then I move into Warrior I. The hand disappears upward with the other. I take a breath. Well, that was frightening. Back to Warrior II. Oh no! There it is again. What is going on? Whose old person hand is that? Where is my youthful, springy, beautiful hand? Oh….I sigh…I get it. .

I glance at these hands in Down Dog. Yes, they are strange, yet they are strong. I begin to think of what they have done in the past 57 years.

These hands

    played thousands of hours of jacks and Barbies and circle ball. 

        trembled when attempting simple math problems on timed tests.

    held countless books.

        fought for the best place on the couch.

    fumbled through futile piano lessons.

        wrote pages of tear-stained journal entries.

These hands

    prayed for a boy to love me.

        held Dixie cups of beer at awkward parties.

    gripped the steering wheel as I flunked my first driving test.

        fearfully grabbed my friend Kerry’s hand when that head popped out in Jaws.

    ran the spotlight while my friends soaked in it.

        accepted my diploma as silver stars filled the night sky.

These hands

    shook the first time I stood in front of a classroom.

        graded millions of essays.

    clapped at every bad speech.

        wiped away students’ tears.

    were placed over my heart as I said the Pledge of Allegiance every morning.

        learned how to encourage and motivate and love.

These hands

    promised themselves to a man.

        wrapped my firstborn in yellow.

    shook as another pregnancy test was read.

        rocked both babies to sleep.

    prayed love would be enough.

        knew when it was time to leave.

These hands

    built a new life.

         signed the papers on my own home.

    found true love.

        clapped and cheered at every game and concert.

    held my dad’s hands when he didn’t recognize me.

        acknowledged when it was time to ask for help.

These hands have

    changed diapers.

    kissed boo boos.

    rolled out pie dough.

    wrapped Christmas presents.

    consoled friends.

    cleaned up puke.

    worried constantly.

    hugged tightly.

    loved bravely.

These hands are the past. They are my dad’s hands. 

These hands are the present. They are my sons’ and daughters’ hands. 

These hands are the future. They are grandchildren’s hands.

Yes, they are wrinkled and chapped and definitely in need of moisturizer, but they have lifted the world. 

These hands.

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