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.