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When I think about hands, my mind immediately turns to tiny fingers, minute finger nails and chubby wrists. The hands of my daughter.

But it’s these very hands, these tiny hands, which have made my own hands what they are now.

Because, without these mini fingers in my life, my own hands would not have found their current purpose.

I use these things on the end of my arms every day, all day.

They grip the steering wheel of my car as I drive to work. They hold a pen and tap a keyboard as I negotiate a radio show. They stroke my tired toddler’s back as she slumps against me for her afternoon milk. They change nappies, chop vegetables – are often burnt during the cooking of supper – and are inevitably scalded checking the temperature of the nightly bath.

These hands have changed.

Before my daughter they were often manicured, occasionally massaged with olive oil (Madonna does it, apparently) and regularly smothered with softening cream.

The pads of my fingers were barely worn, simply being used to type radio news bulletins and write the odd website article. Never had the nails of these hands experienced a child’s fecal matter up close. They’d never been urinated on or vomited on or bitten by a teething baby.

These hands were unlived in. Fresh. A blank canvas.

And here they are. A mother’s hands. A working mother’s hands. Wiping, typing, driving, cooking, washing, nurturing and patting.

My hands. Worn, lived in and a bit shabby around the edges.

I rather like them, actually.


This is my entry for this week’s Gallery, where the theme is Hands. Head over to Sticky Fingers to see the rest.