I stood at the sink yesterday, washing and hulling a million strawberries.
I was listening to the Prairie Home Companion on the radio, and giving each berry the quick 1, 2 – one cut in, another out, to make a little v shape indentation where the green top had been. 1,2 – 1,2 – 1,2 – 1,2 over and over, as green tops fell to the bowl and an army of newly recruited berries dropped on the pan to be frozen for the smoothies and pies of another day.
As I cut, I noticed how the quick motions of my hand reminded me so much of similar motions my mom’s hands made as she brushed my hair. Or maybe it was my grandmother, as she washed cups, rinsed and passed them to the drainer. It could have been my great grandmother, with her nimble bobbing in and out quilting needle.
We are, all of us, handmade by mothers, are we not?
We are all the product of hands that have patted, rocked, wiped tears, kneaded bread, tied shoes, buttoned shirts, signed report cards, sewed dresses, bandaged knees, packed a zillion lunches, folded towels, made beds, brushed teeth, planted seeds, turned pages, buckled seat belts, felt foreheads for fever, held our hands as we crossed the street, and folded in prayer over us. Mother’s hands, whether gentle and kind or stern or industrious, they have shaped who we are.
So it’s kind of funny, I think, when people hear that I have three boys, or see us in the aisles of the grocery store and say, “you sure have your hands full, don’t you?”
Yes, I guess I do. My hands are busy at a craft that I’ve learned from a line of amazing, strong and selfless women – my hands are mothering. And yes, they are so full, full of all the blessing, richness, and joyful mess that I can hold.
I hope your Mother’s Day was full of love as well.