What Our Hands Say About Us

Hands are amazing mirrors of who we are. Our palms are filled with hundreds of delicate lines; traceries of what we’ve done and where we’ve been.

The backs of our hands; mine anyway—are filled with loopy raised veins, sun spots, unkempt cuticles, nails that need trimming, and that faint pink scar from when I picked up a big crawfish at nine years old and it pinched the side of my thumb hard.

When my best friend and I went to first grade, our teacher (dear Mrs. Erickson) told us how to tell our right hand from our left. She said, “Your right hand is the hand you write with.”

Easy! My friend and I were born left-handed, so when we heard that, we immediately raised our left hands—our ‘right’ hands.

I remember when we wrote down everything; no computers or typewriters. I had a semi-permanent “writer’s bump” on the right side of my middle finger on the left hand. It was a testimony to all those stories and poems and lists I wrote. Now that I use a computer and a tablet, I no longer have my bump—and I kind of miss it.

Years ago, I met a young woman who read palms. Always interested in things like this, I had her read my palm. She told me that, despite some health issues, I would live a long life (ok by me as long as the Crankee Yankee and my friends are with me!). She also pointed out two “marriage stars” in my left hand. At that time I was getting ready to marry my first husband, and laughed at the idea.

But after 10 years of a bad and “meh” marriage, we divorced. Funnily enough, my second “marriage star” is more pronounced than the first one! Coincidence? No—just a “meant to be.”

These hands of mine have written and cleaned and cooked and baked and held the newborn baby who would one day become my step-daughter; the Crankee Yankee’s daughter. I have held and cuddled my two grandgirls in these hands, and have been struck with the sheer beauty of their little hands.

I have cared for so many of my cats from years past with these hands. I have loved them, kept them healthy and well-fed and well-loved, brushed them, played with them, and cared for them. At the end of their sweet lives, I have held them in my arms, whispering love into their ears as they have taken their last breath.

I have bathed and held and comforted my mother while she was in hospice, and held her fragile and veined soft hands in mine. I have kissed my father’s hands when he passed away peacefully in our home.

With these hands I have taught myself to play the ukulele fairly well.  I have made jewelry, written stories and poems, sewed and mended clothes, baked cookies and made many meals. I have held the hands of those I love, and felt the hands of others in my own hands when I needed comforting.

We’ve come a long way together, these hands of mine. While they are no longer pristine, unlined and unwrinkled, they are my testament and signposts of the life I have lived so far. These days when I look at my hands, weathered and toughened and marked with life, I see them as both powerful and beautiful.

Take some time today to look at your own hands; see what they tell you.