My Mother's Hands

My Mother's Hands
By Jennifer LB Leese

Each and every night my mother would come into my room to tuck me in. Standing tall above me as I lay in my bed, she'd turn her head slightly to the right, and without saying a word, she would gaze upon my face with her sparkling green eyes, full of pride as she brushed my hair with her gentle hands. Then she'd lean down and push my brown hair out of the way, so she could kiss my forehead.
For as long as I can remember, she has always kissed me and hugged me good night. We've never parted without kissing and saying, 'I love you.' My brothers and I were taught to love without restraint. Love was not a word in which we couldn't identify with; it flowed so freely within the walls of our home. It never felt smothered, or banned.
She taught us not to be afraid to share our feelings with others, and I'm so fortunate to have a mother who cares for me that much. She always let us know verbally, or even just by giving us a tight hug that she would listen to anything we had to tell her, no matter how hard it could be for her.
Freedom is such a wonderful thing to teach children. Yet, so many parents ignore it and stifle their child's imagination and creativity. Growing up my mother encouraged my two brothers and I openly and frequently to let our imaginations flow. Without heavy restrictions lingering over our heads, we were able to behave the way we were taught and the way we should be able to children. There's nothing more heartbreaking than seeing the loss of fire in a child's eyes. Freedom is a powerful word that has numerous definitions and it should without a doubt be taught to each and every child. Freedom of speech, freedom of imagination--freedom of life!
Even now, my mother's hands are soft and loving. They never lost that warm, gentle touch I considered necessary when I was child. As a mother, sister, daughter, and wife, it's comforting to know that my mother is there; she's a phone call away when I need her.
There were many times when my mother and I fought, and I wasn't strong enough to say I was sorry. However, as I grew older I found it easier to say exactly what I wanted to say to her--and I did. I apologized for everything that I had done when I was a child. I even apologized for all the things she thought I had done. I'm sure she has since forgotten all the rotten words I have said while growing up and has just passed them off as being a child. It's not so easy for me. Now that I'm an adult, I remember what I said and have thought long and hard over some of those harsh words. I can only hope that she is proud of me for what I have done with my life and I hope she knows that she is the one that has helped me become the woman that I am today with the vital life lessons she has taught me.
Telling my mother exactly how I feel has been the best thing I've ever done for her and for myself. During our "talk," I sensed that she appreciated my being open and honest with her. I actually saw the relief in her eyes; it was almost as if I enabled her to release a demon trapped within her. Her eyes brightened and smiled. I realized then that we had finally connected as mother and daughter.
Now that I have three children of my own, I know exactly how my mother felt when I was growing up. She was stern, yet loving, and I always learned the lesson she fought so hard to teach me. I hope I am capable of instilling my mother's insights, lessons, and wisdom onto my own children.
My brothers and I weren't taught religion as in there is only one God. We were brought up to believe that everyone has the right to choose his or her own God and religion. As long as you are a good person, inside and out, then your soul will find salvation in your God's afterlife.
There are many times now that I sit back and think of how lucky I am. I grew up having a mother whose eyes were always full of passion and concern and whose heart was full of love and devotion. My mother exposed us to a life much like one you would imagine for a carefree, happy-go-lucky child--life in a colorful prism. We were free to make certain choices of our own and fortunately, we were never injured. We were allowed to meet other people, but knew to keep our distance. She simply taught us to teach ourselves.
My mother was taken for granted. Sadly, I participated. Although, it was not done purposely, and her as a passionate mother, knew that we would outgrow our selfishness. She also reasoned out the meaning that was behind everything we did and sometimes still do. She taught us forgiveness.
What a wonderful job she has done in raising her three children. I can only hope to raise mine with such confidence, love, and understanding as she did with my two brothers and me.
My mother never hindered us with an over-protective crutch. Yet, she always kept her distance. Lovingly, but protectively she kept a watchful eye over us. We were taught to explore and we were given the freedom to be a kid.
When I remember my mother, from when I was a child, I remember looking up at her with envy. I loved that she was my mom, no one else had my mom, and I couldn't wait to grow up to be just like my mom.
As growing up, her teaching was never judgmental or demeaning and she was always full of positive advice. I always knew that if I had a problem, she would be there to help me through it the best that she could. Her strength is always admiringly visible to others.
When it comes to relationships, my mother taught me well. There are lessons that I've learned from watching the positives and the negatives of all my mother's relationships. Although, I can honestly say, she never allowed any man to take her for granted, treat her badly, or walk all over her. During the course of my teenage years, I went against everything my mother taught me. With much shame, I allowed my partner to treat me with all the negatives that she never allowed. She tried to help physically, I only snuck out then she tried to help verbally, I shut my ears. Thank you Mom for not giving up on me. With much persistence, she finally broke through and saved me from a life-damaging relationship. Later in years, she needed me in almost the same way. I am extremely happy that I was able to return her affection, strength, and passion.
She's achieved so many goals in her life and she is, to this day, working hard at achieving new goals that she sets for herself. She is a woman to admire and a woman to look up to and she is definitely a woman to mirror.
As the years roll by, I know and she knows that I'm not a little girl anymore. However, when we are together, and then part, we still kiss and say, "I love you." That's the way it should be, and that's the way it always will be.
I have made sure that my mother understands and knows how much I appreciate her. She has been my doctor, my teacher, my counselor and so much more, but I am very fortunate now that I can say that she is "my best friend."
My mother carries an air of freshness and new light with her wherever she goes, unknowingly she's a carrier of strength, love, perseverance, and I respect her whole-heartedly. She's always achieving her parental goals well into our adulthood, and now she attempts to achieve her goals as a grandmother.
I will be that familiar hand that helps to take care of her when her time comes to receive. She's my mother. She's my best friend. What more could I ask for?