A woman’s hands


Melissa Martin, Ph.D.



I sign a Visa receipt at the store and I notice my hands. When did my hands turn into my mother’s hands? I notice the well-worn winkles.

Hands tell the stories of life

Women’s hands tell the stories of relationship. Our hands touched newborn babies — miracles of life. Touch is vital for child development, and infants void of being touched suffer from touch deprivation.

Hands are home to our fingers, and no two people have the same finger prints, not even identical twins. Ridges and patterns form on a baby’s finger tips in the uterus from touching pressure on the developing fingers.

My mother’s hands held children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren. Her hands held a paintbrush and pie dough for decades.

I garden during the spring and summer, and my hands show it. When did my hands turn into my grandmother’s hands? I notice the thinning skin with bluish veins and age spots from the sun.

My paternal grandmother’s hands held children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren. Her hands held frying pans and a garden hoe for decades.

My maternal grandmother’s hands painted houses, made flower baskets and wrote poems. Her hands held children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren.

Our hands changed stinky diapers, cleaned up vomit and burped babies. Our hands put bandages on knees, brushed hair and clapped at school activities. Our hands picked tomatoes, peeled potatoes and baked cookies. Our hands washed clothes, swept floors and scrubbed toilets.

Hands tell the story of cultures and traditions

Our hands sliced birthday cake and gave hugs. Our hands wrapped Christmas gifts and tied bows. Our hands boiled and colored Easter eggs.

Our hands were put together in prayer, and turned the pages of the Bible. Billy Graham said, “God has given us two hands, one to receive with and the other to give with.”

A woman’s hands convey the accounts of daily life.

Both of my grandmothers crocheted faithfully, and my mother sewed quilts by hand. Touching these much-loved items spark warm memories as each tells a story about hands.

Both grandmothers’ hands experienced arthritis in the elderly years. Their hands worked hard during America’s era of agriculture and industry. Their hands plucked chickens, canned vegetables and jellies, and cooked biscuits and gravy.

The hands of great-grandmothers plowed fields, sewed clothes, and cooked lots of beans and cornbread. Their hands rocked cradles and closed caskets.

Hands are an important part of the body

There are 27 bones, 29 joints and around 123 named ligaments in the human hand. Sir Isaac Newton stated, “In the absence of any other proof, the thumb alone would convince me of God’s existence.”

Touch, one of the five senses, helps us to interact with the environment outside of the human body. Our hands touch. The skin contains tiny nerve endings called sensory receptors that stimulate our sense of touch. The bottom layer or dermis sends messages of heat, cold, soft, sticky, or sharp sensations and pressure, temperature, texture, body position and vibration signals to the brain. Touch is a pathway of pleasure or pain, and is involved in the social bonding experience.

However, our senses (hearing, vision, taste, smell, touch) change as we age. Because of reduced circulation to nerve endings, the sense of touch declines as we age.

Women’s hands tell the stories of death

Some hands held the hands of beloved mothers and grandmothers as they died. Other hands laid red roses on caskets. Hands wiped tears of grief at cemeteries.

Hands tell stories of our past, present and future. Hands tell stories of life and death. Hands tell the story of a woman’s life.

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Melissa Martin, Ph.D.

Melissa Martin, Ph.D., is an author, self-syndicated columnist, educator and therapist. She resides in Scioto County, Ohio. www.melissamartinchildrensauthor.com.

Melissa Martin, Ph.D., is an author, self-syndicated columnist, educator and therapist. She resides in Scioto County, Ohio. www.melissamartinchildrensauthor.com.