These are my hands.

Sometimes I feel like they are The Picture of Dorian Gray. I spend so much time taking care of my face, while slowly and quietly my hands tell it all. These hands are a mother's hands. The skin is thinning. Veins seem to pop up more, and the skin bags more heavily at the natural creases on each finger.

As a child, I used to love my mom's hands, with the veins sticking out and skin that was so unlike my own. I would sneak a poke at her veins, delighting at the squishy sensation. My mom wasn't quite as amused. The other day I sat talking to a friend about this. Her nails were undone, covered in the remains of neon pink paint from her children's art project. These are a mother's hands... sticky, worn, and paint-stained. But it's a mother's hand, a good strong one, that held my hand through every one of my weakest moments.

There's something about aged hands that signifies strength. They show tenacity. There's security in them. The aged hand portrays something that a smooth young hand never could. A mother's aged hands are the hands that fix splinters, wipe tears, cook, clean, fix the toys, and find ways for certain toys to disappear. They carry, pick up, and drive, getting everyone and everything to where they need to go. Aged hands feel, they hug, they wave. Yet as women, we look down and say, "Ugh, my hands look old."

These aging hands are mine. Perhaps yours are aging too. They do all things grand and small. They age because they love. May we celebrate the stories they tell rather than mourn the worn image they bear.

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