The veins in my hands are like silky cords of blue-green.  I still can’t get used to these aged hands dangling on my wrists.  Between my fingers the skin is raspy, dried out from chemicals I use to wash clothes and clean dishes.  I’d slather my hands with lotion but what is the point when I will scrub them clean again in a few minutes?

My fingernails are short, practical, ragged around the cuticles.  They suffer from neglect, from dishwater and digging weeds and idle picking while I’m watching television.  My skin is loosening, bunching at the knuckles, criss-crossed with lines like a crazy map showing where I’ve been.

My hands show signs of overuse.  They’re getting old, which seems impossible since I am still the same inside.  My ragged hands betray my age and make me wonder why women abandoned the fashion of wearing dainty gloves in public.  I have no time for manicures, nor would the gloss of painted nails survive the ravages of my daily life.

Two of my grandfather were each missing fingers.  My Grandpa Johnson cut his index finger off with a saw while he was building a church.  I have no idea how my Grandpa Martin lost his finger . . . he fought in World War II, but I suspect that his missing digit cannot be attributed to that historical event.  I need to ask, to settle the mystery of his missing finger.  (I used to think that grandfathers all had one finger missing, as if it were a requirement.)

(Seriously, I have no point to these rambling post about my hands . . . but I had to write it because I am so distracted by the prominent veins on my right hand.  When did my hands get this old?) 

13 thoughts on “Distraction

  1. I still remember a couple years ago when my sister and I put our hands together to compare our summer tans. My 12-years-younger-than-me sister. We both looked at both of our hands in shock at the difference.


    So, yeah, I can relate.

    I’m still in my 30’s.

    For 39 more days.

    (Not that I’m counting.)



  2. I remember well when I first noticed that looking down examining my face in a mirror, my face was falling forward. That is a very disturbing sight.

    But tomorrow I turn 49 and I’d rather do that with wrinkles and gravity setting in than not. At least I’m thinner! : – )


  3. Funny you should mention hands. Katie was looking at my hands last night. That small act reminded me of looking at my own Mom’s hands. The backs of my hands were so smooth, in my Mom’s hands I could see blue veins, tendons, wrinkles, smoothness – LIFE. My hands showed no wrinkles, veins or tendons.

    I have my Mother’s hands now, and Katies hands are nearly as smooth as a babes.

    It all goes by too quickly.


  4. I used to play with a prominent vein in the back of my mother’s hand and couldn’t figure out why it bothered her when I did it.


  5. I look at my hands and see my mother’s hands and it gives me comfort. I used to love watching her work — wiping dishes, caring for younger children, mixing a big batch of dough like it was whipped cream. Her hands were so strong and skilled. Now, I catch myself wringing out a dishrag or sewing on a button, and I see her hands and I feel that I have those gifts, too.


  6. Eeesh…I’m with you. It’s always a little bit of a shock to me to look at my hands. Now that my kids are grown up, I can pamper them more…I try to keep my nails polished and get semi-regular manicures, and I frequently slather them with lotion. But I love to feel my 20-year-old daughter’s silky hands, and wonder if mine ever looked and felt like that. Ahh…youth is wasted on the young, isn’t it?


  7. I actually began wearing rubber gloves when I do dishes, clean the kitchen, etc. Such an old lady habit – but I think my hands look nicer as a result. I remember looking at my grandma’s hands – she raised 8 kids by herself (her husband died when her oldest was 11) – and she told me they looked that way (the veins especially) because of her hard work.

    Great post.


  8. My husband’s grandfather was missing a finger. Railroad accident. My husband said one of the grandchildrens’ favorite things to do was ask their granddad how he lost his finger because he always told them a different, wacky, hysterical story each time.

    I remember those old Palmolive commercials which touted prevention of “dishpan hands”. Liars!


  9. I’ve been noticing my own hands lately. And also the area around my eyes. And wondering how a 25 year old can possibly look like this.


  10. I thought it serendipitous that you posted about hands today also. I looked at my hands this weekend (don’t tell anybody, but I turned 50) and I realized that my hands were my mother’s hands as well. I don’t know when that happened. I can share with you that I found a handcream by Beauticontrol that was developed for nurses, it lasts on your hands for 3 washings. I wish I had known about it when I worked in a hospital, I was constantly washing my hands there. Anyway, my hands have been much softer since then. For a change.


  11. My grandfather lost the tip of one of his middle fingers in a construction accident when he was a young man. My father lost the tip of his right index finger in farm equipment when he was 2 or 3. I used to think all dads were missing a finger.


  12. my mothers hands are a great memory for me. while we would sit and relax on the couch, she let me press on the veins that stuck out. I loved doing that. I loved her hands, her veins and the big ring on her finger.
    The other day I noticed my son pressing on the vein on my hand and it brought a smile to my face. I always say I want to be just like my mama and it looks like, in some areas, i am. I love hands.


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