The Most Beautiful Hands

The Most Beautiful Hands


By by Shery Ma Belle Arrieta

When I turned five and went to nursery school, she was worried about me because it was my first day at school. That morning I shooed her away when she tried to wait for my bus with me. She stayed behind the gates and still saw me off.

On the first school poem reciting contest I joined in first grade, she helped me with memorization and the actions. I vaguely remember that the poem was about a turtle trapped in a box. I lost but I still feel that she was the best coach for me.

All my years in school, I never went to class in rumpled uniform or rumpled clothes. She ironed each piece of clothing into straightness, and no crease was ever out of place.

She hand-washed every dress, shirt and pants and I never went around in clothes with stains or spots. She made sure I wore clean, fresh, crisp and neat clothes, even if they weren't new.

I never went to school hungry or without lunch. She made sure she cooked something for me. We weren't always so well-off and in my young years, she didn't have that much money to give me so I went to school with packed lunch. Several times, I got embarrassed by this. I was already in sixth grade and yet, I was still bringing lunch with me instead of buying it like all the other kids.

Numerous times she went up the stage to put medals around my neck. Numerous times I took her for granted. She was a perfect mother and I was an imperfect daughter.

A lot of times I would get angry at her if she tries to tell me something or lecture me. I would not speak to her for weeks. I would stop eating the food she cooked and avoid being in the same room with her. One of our worst fights drove her to the hospital when her blood pressure went up. I realized what I did and told her I was sorry.

A few months later, I was back to hurting her again. A year and a half ago, we had another fight. It was one of the worst fights we had. There were shouting and crying and hurling of hurting words.

Finally, I broke down and told her what was bothering me. I've been so afraid that she couldn't take what had happened to me, and that she wouldn't understand. But I was wrong. She held me tight and together we cried.

Her hands never stopped stroking my hair. They gave me incredible comfort and they spoke unconditional acceptance of me - however, whatever and whichever way I come to her.

They spoke a million times of accepting and re-accepting me, no matter how many more times I would falter and hurt her.

It's very seldom that mom would get her hands manicured. Those few times, the color chipped off after only a day. It's because she had dishes to wash and clothes to launder and iron.

Her hands are thick. They're calloused and have blisters. Her fingernails are always short. The skin on her hands is dry.

One would say my mother's hands are ugly. I will be the first one to disagree. I know how she spent the hours using those hands for over 25 years. I know who she used those hands for. I know the love that went into every blister, every scar, every dry cell, every broken nail.

I look at her hands and I see the tangible evidence of her love for me. I do not have any need for words to tell me of her love.

My mom has the world's most beautiful hands. All I need to do is look at them to prove it.

Copyright Shery Ma Belle Arrieta

About the Author

Shery is the owner of, your companion to writing and preserving your memories. In partnership with The e-Writer's Place, launches SNAPSHOTS: Writing Your Memory, Writing Your Life, a 3-week email workshop on journaling, scrapbooking and memoir writing. Visit here for the complete course outline and information on how you can avail of the SNAPSHOTS Free-To-Try Module.

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