My mother’s hands are always moving, which is a testament to her strength and resilience. This past week, Mom celebrated her 77th birthday. She continues to amaze me with everything that she’s able to accomplish.
As a young child, I was constantly mesmerized by Mom’s hands, especially when she was creative with them. I sat by her feet as she darned my father’s socks that had conveniently sprung a hole in each of the toes. My eyes were glued to her hands as she deftly threaded the needle and began her work. Within a few quick stitches, Dad’s socks looked as good as new. Mom’s father was a tailor in the Garment District of Manhattan. He would have been proud of her neat, minute stitches.
When Mom took up knitting and crocheting to pass the time in the evenings, I always volunteered to help wind her yarn into balls for her. Mom was able to wind two skeins to my one, but she was always appreciative as those beautiful hands took my yarn ball from my own. As she began to crochet or knit, I would watch her for hours. Those hands worked tirelessly to create beautiful afghans and ponchos for my sister and me. When my husband and I got married, Mom crocheted us an intricately stitched beige afghan, which presently sits on my den chair. I always looked forward to her visits to Pearl Paint for yarn, not only because the craft store contained a magnificent collection of skeins, but because it was my golden opportunity to help her wind the yarn into balls that evening.
Mom’s hands were instrumental in creating great dinners and delicious baked goods. As we baked together, I often stole a glance at her hands that worked tirelessly to knead dough into cookies or peel an apple with amazing skill and a single knife. She was patient as I attempted to skin the apples for pie, as more apple ended up in the garbage bowl than skin. I never saw anyone skin an entire apple in one full peel, but Mom could do it with great ease. As an adult, I pride myself on my ability to do the same. It’s now my daughter’s turn to be amazed by my hands. Although, I’m not so certain that it’s as thrilling to a child of the electronics age as it was for a child of the ’70s.
Over the past 10 years, I’ve found bliss as I crochet or knit for others, which Mom taught us well. It was important that we gave to others with our good hands, because it was then that we were doubly blessed, according to Mom. A friend once asked whether I could help her create squares for hospice blankets; in turn, I asked Mom to help. When I compared my Granny Squares to Mom’s beautiful stitches, there was no comparison, but it didn’t matter. We were helping others together.
Since the hospice blanket days, Mom has taken up crocheting once more. Whenever we visit, Mom’s hands are busily moving with hook and yarn to create gorgeous blankets for others. When we went to visit her several days ago, I noticed her hands appeared fatigued and she wasn’t working on anything. She told me that she had to stop crocheting, because it had reinjured her trigger finger. I glanced at her hands as they pushed a large knife through her birthday cake. While they’re worn with age and arthritic changes, they’ve done so much for others. They are still the most beautiful hands that I’ve ever seen.
Patty Servidio is a columnist, contributing columnist and journalist with Anton Media Group for the past 18 years. The views expressed by columnists are not necessarily those of the publisher or Anton Media Group.