My life story can be told using a map of my hand. I start with the obvious...the scars. There are the stitches I got when I was 8, on the inside of my middle finger and at my wrist. My fingers were bent as a child, and surgery straightened them, but left its mark. Years later, my mother told me there was a chance I could have lost the fingers altogether, but at the time, she took the whole thing in stride and I never guessed there might be danger. It tells of hating our trips to Philadelphia to see the redheaded doctor there before she decided the knife was the only recourse. How I hated the contraptions she ingeniously built to try and straighten the fingers. How scared I was at the hospital the night before. How I loved the attention when my brothers and sister called me on the floor's payphone. How my best friend gave me a stuffed bunny who I named Cuddles. How I hated the angry red stitches. How freeing it was to open my hand fully and play the piano! There's the scar from the time I sliced my finger open dropping my hermit crab tank while carrying it into my brother's room. I wanted desperately for my brother's friend to come into my room and see the crab, but the boys paid me no attention. I took matters into my own hands, and the next thing I knew I was heading to the ER. There is the memory of using my middle finger and cursing at a kid in the hall in middle school. He was such a jerk to me and I felt so grown up and badass doing that, surrounded by my posse of girlfriends. But then I got detention...and had to bring the slip home to get signed. Not a pleasant prospect, considering my mom taught in the district and my dad was the just retired superintendent. Despite my dad cursing in frustration, neither he nor my mom understood where I could have learned that language! This was also the hand that held a boy's for the first time in middle school. My first real boyfriend and I met up after school one day and walked around the property. We held hands in the private places we thought no one could see. He was so sweet and kind and cute! His hand in mine gave me shivers! This was the hand my husband placed the ring he had designed onto my fourth finger in front of our friends and family. It was the day we began our life together with our heads full of plans. At 24, I thought I had it all on that day! A job, a house, a cat and a husband. This was the hand that held each of my babies up to my face so I could gaze at their perfection. It rocked their cradles, gave them baths and brought their heads to my breast to nurse. Later, it held their little hands in mine and applied bandages with love and care. It drove them to countless sporting events and school concerts. It texts them now that they're out on their own and cooks for them when they come back. There is the ring I wear on that hand. It has a small G on it, for each one of my G-named daughters. It was part of a set that had their birthstones, too, that they each wear. This hand has wiped countless tears, been clenched in anger, held on tight in fear, reached out to help others, expressed itself through writing and art, and sat quietly beside me, waiting to see how I will call upon it next. This hand is wrinkled now and has blue, ropy veins covering it, but still, it tells so much of my life story.
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