Three Hands

Three hands rest on their respective owner’s laps: a soft 20-something hand, a pudgy toddler hand, and a fat-free, veins-and-knuckles-protruding, 50-something hand. Left to right it’s me, my son, and my mother sitting in the back seat of my parents’ car after a trip to The Farm: the farm where she grew up and that she now, well, farms in partnership with the neighbouring farm-er.

My mother moves her hand over to rest beside my son’s: as neat an illustration of the aging process as you could ask for, if you felt the need to ask. But Mom isn’t looking weighed-down by completely obvious intimations of mortality. She’s looking . . . happy.

I have a memory of seeing three hands just like this.

She pauses for effect.

But my hand was the toddler’s hand.

She smiles, enjoying that memory of herself with her mother and grandmother.

As I look down now at my own fat-free, veins-and-knuckles-protruding, 70-something hands, I don’t feel weighed down by the completely obvious intimations of mortality, either. Instead, I feel . . . happy. Happy for that memory that connects me to a line of hands, of mothers and grandmothers and all the greats before them. Happy for the connection to the hands of sons and grandchildren and the greats still to come. And yes, happy for the visual reminders of both.


This entry was posted in Feeling Clearly, Mortality, Photos of Flora and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

10 Responses to Three Hands

  1. Dorothy Warren says:

    A lovely point of view to begin the new year.

  2. barbara carlson says:

    I just feel happy to HAVE hands. And that these long thin (and still straight!) things still work. 😀

  3. Mary Gibson says:

    Longevity, if one is so fortunate to experience, is a great teacher.

    • Isabel Gibson says:

      Mary – LOL – yup, eventually we wonder what that whacking sensation is on the side of our heads. It’s life, trying to get our attention.

  4. I love the unspoken likeness of the tree roots pictured to the aging hands you describe. And the parched ground where they somehow find sustenance is a fitting metaphor for “the sands of time.” You remind me that I can “see” my mother’s hands in so many contexts, and my paternal grandmother’s hands likewise. “The lines have been laid down for me in pleasant places; indeed, I have a goodly heritage.” And much to give, as a result of those who have gone before.

    • Isabel Gibson says:

      Laurna – We stand on the shoulders of giants? I think that’s right. And success begets success, individually and generationally.

  5. Judith Umbach says:

    Thank you for a thoughtful meditation on aging bodies and love. Myself, I often catch sight of my right hand and recognize my mother’s.

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