Never underestimate the small moments and simple touches.
My mama’s hands are one of my fondest memories. We attended church 4 times a week. As a child sermons are naturally a bore. I would fight with my siblings to get the seat next to Mama just so I could occupy myself, holding her hand. These moments to her were probably seen as nothing more than a clingy child pulling and tugging in impatience of dismissal. As a mom I often feel these small gestures to also be a nuisance at times. What she couldn’t have know was the memories these long sermons of studying her hands meant to me.
I can recall every nook and cranny. Her fingers, long and lean, her knuckles rather large for her rather tiny framed hands, giving her an almost skeletal appearance. Her nails were filed to a oblong curve, making her slender fingers seem even longer. I would use my own nails to push back her cuticle beds and wonder why the ridges across her nails were do much deeper than my own. You could tell when it was cotton season. She didn’t make it to church as often then, but her hands much dryer than usual. They would catch as they ran across the fabric pew. She would apply more lotion during this time of year; she always had lotion in church. She would let me apply it for her. I remember every bump of the knuckle, every dry patch, the wart right by her nail bed that she didn’t like me picking at.
I would sit in service and wonder if palm reading was real. I would imagine what each line could possibly mean. Does this freckle mean she is happy? Does this line mean she will live a very long time? I would often find myself transfixed with the meaning of each line on her palm before realizing it wasn’t an appropriate thought to be entertaining within our Pentecostal church.
These memories are so minute in the grand scale of things. However, they are more vivid that any birthday party, Christmas gathering, school event, or game night. These are the memories that I cling to because they do not fit the cookie cutter idea of childhood memory.
I wonder everyday. Will my boys remember my hands? Will they looks back and remember Mama always had paint up her wrists and thumbs. Mama always had fabric dye in her nail beds. Mama always had uneven jagged nails. Mama’s wedding ring was always sideways with chew marks on the bottom. Mama had scars on the backs of her hands. Mama had a faded out tattoo on her wrist.
So while we tend to focus on things like providing our children with the nicest clothes, newest toys, cleanest house, biggest parties, let’s stop and think, “Is this what they will really remember?” Maybe it’s our hands, our face, our hair, even our feet, but the best memories are the ones they create on their own.
The greatest memories come from the small moments and the simple touches.