These Hands

I remember I used to always get these forwards from family and friends about inspiring moral based stories.  Others were those cutesie pictures of puppies and babies doing adorable things that make you “aww” out loud.  You know, the ones you’d never admit to anyone that you actually love to look at because they’re that sappy.  There was one in particular that hit home for me.  To be honest I’m not quite sure why because it was a “Mom” forward and I was an immature selfish and naive high school student.  It made me stop and think though all the same.

I don’t remember the title or exactly how it went.  But it was something like this:

These Hands

Today I had to go to the grocery store with my daughter.  My husband was having his boss over for dinner tonight and I needed to gather a few ingredients.  I asked my daughter to come with me when I realized I was falling behind.  As I approached the checkout I couldn’t help but notice the woman in front of me.  She was beautiful.  Her long dark hair was laid neatly in perfect curls down her back.  Her face looked like an angel.  She had a perfect creamy complexion and a dazzling white smile under her ruby red lipstick.  Her figure was what I could only compare to a swimsuit model.  She was wearing stiletto heels and a tight thigh-high black satin dress that could take anyone’s breath away.  I saw her reach out for a pen and noticed her hand.  It was small, smooth and delicate.  Her long thin nails were the same ruby color as her lips.  At the same moment I was reaching out for a divider to put in between our obviously different piles of food.  Hers being shrimp, champagne and many other foreign items I can only imagine is for fine dining.  Mine being a bottle of cheap wine, a chicken for roasting and some juice boxes for my daughter.  When I placed the divider I looked at my own hand.  My hand was tanned and leathery, my finger nails were chewed short and I had wrinkles and scars all over my knuckles.  I compared myself further with the beautiful stranger in front of me.  My hair was pulled back in a ponytail, and even after I get ready for dinner tonight I can’t imagine it will look anything close to the beautiful woman’s.  The dress I had proudly picked off of the discount rack looked shameful compared to her’s.  My face was nothing like hers.  I had on glasses, I had no makeup on and I honestly couldn’t remember when the last time was that I wore lipstick that daring.  I pulled my hand back in disgust.  I was ashamed of my appearance.  Compared to this woman I felt poor, ugly and worn out.
While comparing myself to the stranger I didn’t realize my daughter watching me compare my hand to hers.  She took my hand and told me, “Mommy, I think your hands are perfect just the way they are.  Her hands haven’t taken care of kids.  Her hands haven’t made a boo-boo better.  Her hands don’t cook food every day for her family like yours do.  Her hands haven’t cleaned up after kids when they’re sick.  Her hands don’t get tan from taking her family for walks every day.  Her hands haven’t turned the pages of a bedtime story every night, or tucked someone in bed with care.  Her hands haven’t helped a stranger shovel their car out in winter.  Her hands don’t play in the sand and dirt like yours do with us.  Her hands haven’t given so much love and care like yours have.  Your hands tell the world that they work for others, hers say that they take care of only themselves.  I like your hands much better.”
By the time she finished I had tears i my eyes.  My daughter saw what I failed to see.  She saw her Mother in a way that made her more beautiful from the inside out than that stranger ever could be.  I will always be proud of who I am.  I am a hard working Wife and a devoted Mother and I’m  proud of my wrinkles scars tan lines and chewed off finger nails, and so is my family.

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