During the service this beautiful and perfect 4 year old cleverly sneaked my cell phone and proceeded to take a ton of photos. She captured every thing around us. There were a lot of photos of her black sparkly shoes, the hymn book, the ground, her stuffed Waddles, her momma, and of course Grandma. One particular photo was of my hand. After the photography thrill wore off, she climbed back on my lap, took my hands in hers and asked, “Grandma Julie, why are your hand so wrinkly?”
While her question really didn’t take me back, my answer did. My hands aren’t wrinkly because I’m getting older. Okay, yes, nearing the completion of my 54 revolution around the sun does give way to wrinkles, sagging skin, gray hair but really these are signs of the events of those 54 years and how I’ve chosen to react and interact with my life events. And my sweet granddaughter’s question made me realize just how much of those events and my choices show in my hands.
My answer should have been, “My hands are wrinkly because I’ve held many little girls just like you. I’ve also held little hands across a street, through a department store, Disneyland, in scary times. I held her grandpa’s hand for many years but never quite like I did as he crossed over. My hands have held books, novels I’ve read, hymn books I’ve sung out of, cook books, library books, years of bedtime stories. These hands have served and received many meals. They’ve planted seeds in the Earth, pulled weeds, harvested herbs, vegetables, flowers, and saved earthworms, ladybugs, caterpillars and set new butterflies free. They’ve touched the face of a newborn, rose petals, mullein leaves. I’ve run my fingers through my husband’s hair, my grandchildren’s hair, my children’s hair. These hands have stroked the hair of a grieving friend and hugged every one I love. These hands played card games, board games, turned jump ropes, and played catch. They’ve applauded victories of all makes and sizes and have wiped away an ocean of tears through the years. My hands have washed dishes, washed cars, clothes, floors, changed diapers and sheets of my grandchildren, children, and grandparents. They’ve put up years of Christmas decorations, wrapped loads of birthday presents, handed out gobs of Halloween candy, and baked cookies, cakes, and pies.These hands learned to transfer me from wheelchair to chair, to car, up and down stairs even with a little 4 year old on my lap. These hands have taken the poke of a needle to draw blood when my arm had offered so much it needed a rest. My hand has been a sincere offering of greeting and departure and at times my word. My hand has signed paychecks, adoption papers, marriage, birth, and death certificates. I’ve signed permission slips, contracts, agreements, and greeting cards. There’s oh so much more these hands have done to earn their wrinkles. My hands are wrinkly because of a well worn life. My hands are well worn in love. They’ve given and received and will continue to do so in love.”
Yeah, something like that should have been my answer but it might have been too much for a 4 year old. It is, however, just enough of a reminder for me.