A Mother’s Day Tribute: Her Hands

by Karen Pourcho | May 12, 2022 | Articles

This mother’s day tribute is written by Karen Pourcho in memory of her mother, Karen Barnes.


As a child, I often took my naps on Mom and Dad’s bed. Above their bed was a large white oval frame. Inside that frame was a portrait of my parents’ hands taken on their wedding day. Their hands were posed on a backdrop of my mother’s wedding dress. Dad’s hand was underneath with my mom’s resting on top. Mom was always proud of her hands, and they were beautiful. Long and slender, with perfect oval nails.

I’d stare at that picture and memorize her hands, much like I would do when sitting in church as a child. There she would let me hold her hands, tracing her veins and playing with her rings.

Mom’s hands weren’t just beautiful; they were busy, useful hands—always doing and rarely still during the day.

Her hands were often engaged in sewing: selecting the right fabrics by their feel; lining up fabric under the needle of one of her machines or pressing crisp seams with a steaming iron.

She was good with scissors, too! Carefully cutting around dress and doll clothes patterns, expertly snipping stems of cut flowers, creatively trimming pictures for scrapbook pages. The exception to this was when she attempted to trim her daughter’s bangs—she could never get them quite straight, causing her to cut and recut until there wasn’t much bang left!

momAs a kid, I can remember coming home from school in the late afternoons and seeing her hands busy at something: refinishing old furniture by rubbing it with solution-soaked steel wool; digging in one of her colorful flower beds; stirring a simmering pot on the stove; or expertly dusting—not around, but under—every object on every surface, until the house gleamed.

One day I stood in my own kitchen and wondered why it didn’t shine like hers. The next time I was with her, I made it a point to observe everything she did. I was determined to learn her secret. Want to know what it was? When not stirring or chopping, there was always a kitchen washcloth in her hand as she continuously wiped surfaces: stovetops, canisters, refrigerator door handles—everything got a swipe before she was done.

I remember Mom’s hands on the steering wheel. Perfectly 10 and 2. Those hands, as far as I know, never once drove a car onto a freeway. Instead, she was the queen of the backroads and could find her way just about anywhere. And, it was watching her hands that first clarified for me the meaning of “white knuckles” as she gripped the passenger door on more than one family vacation as Dad drove us through the winding heights of the Rockies, Smokies, or Ozarks.

Her hands brought comfort, too. I remember craving her touch on my hot forehead or resting on my cheek. And that secure (though, slightly grossed out) feeling I’d get when I’d see her fingers laced behind Dad’s neck as they told each goodbye or good night.

She was a pointer, too. Although she hated it, because it reminded her of her mother, she often pointed, using her right-hand pointer finger to make a, well, point. Very recently, when my husband Bob, said something that particularly pleased her, with a grin she pointed at him and said, “I knew you were a smart one.”

Many years ago, it was Mom’s hands that opened a Bible for me, pointed and traced down the column of words until she came to the following verse, printed in red:

“Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that believeth on me hath everlasting life” (John 6:4).

 

A Mother's Day Tribute

 

Her hands helped to point me to the only way that makes today, a day when her hands are finally still, not a last goodbye, but a day of hope. Because I know someday I will feel her touch again.