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Wednesday, August 28, 2013

"Momma's Hands Don't Do Like They Used To!"

She'll stare at her hands for a long while.
My mom is 89 years old and many times I'll catch her just staring at her hands, occasionally massaging them. Sometimes, she twiddles her thumbs calmly as see stares out from the kitchen window, with that vacant look, at the many birds feeding outside. Sometimes, she sighs and shakes her head in frustration and wonderment of how her hands "won't do like they used to!"

I've always admired my mother's hands. They were simultaneously big and strong and yet, graceful and refined. They were beautiful whether holding a demitasse cup of coffee or pitching a softball at a company picnic. I remember her almost always wearing bright red fingernail polish, which only accentuated their size and strength. Only once, in my athletic career, was I given a better massage after an athletic event. Many times, as I aged, I'd just cancel an appointment with a physical therapist because their hands looked like mine... small. It just seemed a waste of their time and my money.

I've drawn this scene a couple of times already in the past year or so, and this latest seems the better of the bunch. It is, if only because, nowadays, mom sits still longer, intermittently flexing her tired and well worn, boney hands.

It's one thing to grow older and another to witness the rapid decline in one's physical and mental abilities. My mom and I have had our share of disagreements and it would be very hypocritical for me to say that I truly love her in the same way that most people use that term.

We still don't really get along very well. But, since she's been in my care for a couple of years, I can better understand her motives for things she's done in the past. Having said that, I can't help but respect and admire her, or anyone, who can wake up each day and struggle to not only survive, but thrive.

I can only hope to do as well when I'm older!

Copyright 2013/Ben Bensen III