My grandmother’s hands

Every time I look down I see my grandmother’s hands.

Every time I look down (click clack on the keyboard) I see my grandmother’s hands…

Knuckles that kneaded pastry for pies, palms that rolled dumplings for stew. Fingers that stitched and mended. Hands that taught me to embroider and knit and that picked up my dropped stitches. That made me sundresses and party frocks (and always stuck the pins in me when measuring me up against the paper pattern). Nails that split stems for threading daisy chains.

Hands that shelled peas and beans in warm sunshine. That made sunhats and tiny swans from knotted hankies.  Hands that wielded scissors clumsily for childhood haircuts. That sometimes tied my hair in rags at night and teased out limp ringlets in the morning.

Hands that flicked through Barbara Cartland and Womens Weekly and tapped a Silk Cut held in a long black cigarette holder into a standing brass ashtray.

Nails that were always painted and perfect and pink.

Oil of Ulay hands with skin that was always soft and elastic and droopy, folding around joints swollen with arthritis, wrinkled velvet like a puppies nose. And silver rings.

Silver rings that went clack clack in summer heat as oil was rolled around palms and then along brown limbs.

A curved little finger made specially for tea drinking and for scooping just the right amount of mince meat off the spoon and into the pie case.

Later… hands that held mine tightly when she was frightened of falling, or dying. Hands that said silent crushing thank yous when I brushed her hair or tidied her up.

I type a lot. Grandma never typed. My fingers hurt these days and my joints are getting gnarly. And every time I look down I see my hands becoming my grandmother’s hands. Drier skin and brittle unvarnished nails – but undeniably her tea drinking finger, her droopy skin and knobbly joints. And her silver rings. And a few of her tricks handed down through her hands, through my hands and on to the next…

6 thoughts on “My grandmother’s hands

  1. My heart hurts for those lost children who will not know their own mother’s and grandmother’s love and care, and continuity of family as they grow up.

    #openfamilycourt #beyondreasonabledoubt #childrensvoicesmatter

  2. Clever and moving. Beautiful writing.

  3. Lovely and thoughtful reminiscences and as I am a grandad now your words touch me dearly about how my role has changed through life.

    I hope that my grandchildren hold me in the esteem that you have for your grandparents.

    Lastly I don’t know your musical tastes but their is a song called “Grandma’s Hands”, sung and written by Bill Withers that encapsulates some of your feelings…….here is the link to the song on YouTube……enjoy

    and thank you again for your words.

  4. These are the same hands that many of us remember fondly. They comforted us, encouraged us, praised us, admonished us, gave us things… they were the conduits for so much emotion, thought, love and feeling.

    If you have not heard this tune from Bill Withers then give it a whirl because it says a lot about the hands of so many Grandmas.

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