t’s Memorial Day Weekend, and the Stars and Stripes are flying high. Friends and family across America are gathering around picnic tables and lighting up the grills. Kids are excitedly taking their first plunges into chilly, early summer pool water, and then warming shivering bodies wrapped in oversized beach towels and sunlight. It’s time to welcome summer, time to enjoy a long weekend, and most importantly, time to remember those who gave their lives for their country and others who we have loved and lost.
As I write this I’m thinking about my mother and father. They both passed away in the summer, my mother seven years ago, my father five years ago, on the same date, July 9th, two years apart. I still miss them, I keep pictures of them in my Bible, I like looking at their smiling faces when I begin my morning quiet time. Today I was remembering their hands, funny, but for some reason I started thinking about all that those hands did for me.
My mom had beautiful hands and they were almost always busy. Her hands were often crocheting, holding a book, cooking (Memorial Day weekend probably stirring homemade chocolate syrup to have served warm over vanilla ice cream), and writing, crafting, gardening, or serving in some way. Her hands could type 120 words per minute and take shorthand, skills that earned her top ranking wherever she worked. Her hands comforted me when I was injured or sick, patted me when I needed reassurance, and applauded me when I performed or accomplished something. Her hands held my babies and two of my grandbabies, I wish they could hold all of my grandbabies and her other great grandchildren. Oh how I love and miss those hands.
My dad had gentleman’s hands; strong, clean, long-fingered hands. My dad was a thinker, sometimes those hands sat quietly folded in his lap, often on a book or article while he thought. But those hands weren’t idle hands, they built the calorimeter he designed at Oak Ridge National Laboratory, they wrote reports for Nuclear Regulatory Commission, they gestured when he lectured, and like my mom’s hands they served many others. His hands steadied me as I learned to ride a bike, jiggled the pan on Sunday nights when he made popcorn, they awed me as he used them to hold test tubes and do Science demonstrations for my elementary school class and my children’s classes too, they held the books he read to me while using funny voices for all the characters, they washed my hair and brushed my teeth when I was a child. His hands penned poetry and lovingly signed carefully chosen birthday and Valentine’s Day cards. Oh how I love and miss those hands.
I’m looking forward to our extended family cookout this Memorial Day. There will be three generations celebrating together. We will enjoy hotdogs and hamburgers from the grill, play yard games, and chat on my sister’s screen porch, the rocking chairs on the porch are coveted seats and are never empty once the weather warms. I’m making a beeline for one of them. My parents always loved these occasions; they would love seeing all their children, grandchildren, and great grandchildren ages ten years to four weeks old. I’d gladly give up the rocking chairs to them, if only . . .
I'm a wife, mother and grammie who loves time with family and friends. I love learning new things, visiting new places, and making each day count, because moments matter and I don't want to waste mine.