I Have Pretty Hands (a compliment of motherhood)

I have four kids.

Sometimes I’ll be doing something like reading the newspaper or running errands and I’ll remember…as though I’ve forgotten… that I am the Mommy.

It’s surprising and ridiculous and somehow inconceivable…how did I become the responsible adult in the lives of FOUR human beings? Clearly someone in charge has made a terrible mistake.

The first moment that Jay and I were left alone with our oldest child, she stopped breathing. She turned grayish blue and the nurse came running and we were terrified. And then they made us leave with her 36 hours later. To take home. To our house by ourselves where we mostly ate dinner on the floor while watching Seinfeld reruns and staying up crazy late binge watching DVDs of 24 (no Netflix yet).

I cannot POSSIBLY be the Mommy. I have pink hair.

But I AM the Mommy. And the Mom. And the Mama. I’m the finder of school pants and the re-builder of Lego sets. I’m the healer of cuts and scrapes and hurt feelings. I am the soft place to land and the watcher of countless “amazing” dance moves.

I am also the cleaner of pee soaked sheets, the nurse to vomiting children, and the wiper of behinds with diarrhea. Motherhood is a mixed bag.

A few weeks ago, my three year old lost his mind at bath time. I don’t know if you are aware, but three-year-old children are clinically insane. They lull you into this false sense of security because they are adorable and squishy and can form intelligent sentences and then BAM! they go nuts because you cut their sandwich wrong.

Or they lose all sense of significance over small events. “I wanted to take the wrapper off the straw by myself” becomes a wail of pain as though flesh were being flayed from his body. It is not appropriate to flail about on the floor because you had to wear a green shirt instead of a purple shirt because you peed on the blue shirt. I don’t really care if you even wear a shirt at all.

Anyway, he pitched a fit because it was bath time and then he pitched a fit because I made him get out of the bath and we wound up sitting on the floor in his room while I wrestled him into underwear and pajamas and he got so red he turned purple and had great big fat alligator tears rolling down his face.

Because this is my fourth kid, I found it hilarious. In the beginning, I would have been worried that there was something wrong with him. As a new parent to a three-year-old I would have looked for deeper meaning to his disobedience and inability to control himself. Now I know that tired children act like crazy people and you really just need to get them to sleep.

So in that moment I started to stroke his sweaty little tear-covered face and tell him that I love him. That I didn’t want his day to end like this. That he is a kind boy with interesting things to say and I love him so, so much. That I am so grateful I get to be his Mommy.

He sighed, took a shuttering, shaky breath…

And screamed, “I DON’T WANT YOU AND YOUR PRETTY HANDS!!”

My bony, unkempt, pretty hands

I have pretty hands. Not because they are visually appealing. The crooked broken finger, knobby knuckles (is it really because I crack them?), and bitten-down finger nails prevent any kind of aesthetic pleasure. No, my hands are pretty because they are gentle. Because they are strong. Because they help change clothes and clean off dirt and make dinner and build shelves for Legos.

I have pretty hands because an irrational three-year-old was soothed and comforted and then angry that he wanted to let go of his fit and rest. Which is still hilarious.

How many Mommy compliments have I brushed aside because they came from one of those four people while still listening to the implied criticism of people I don’t even know? When I feel less than because I no longer have a job…when I’m bummed because my stomach is jiggly…when I look at someone else’s Insta-perfect account and feel like I’m missing out…why do I even care?

Why do so many of my thoughts and feelings of disappointment in myself come from the random people I don’t actually care about?

Because, dammit, I have pretty hands.

My pretty hands shape the world of four entire human beings. How they view the world, what think about themselves, and what they learn about God and the universe is molded in my hands. They are their own selves, sure, but my hands are the beginning and end to their days, the comfort in their fear, and the only home they know at this point.

I have pretty hands. I pray I use them well.

3 thoughts on “I Have Pretty Hands (a compliment of motherhood)

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