There is something about facing the new year that floods me with childhood memories. Nostalgia visits and pulls me into a tight embrace of how things used to be. Not wanting to be left out, realisation whispers in my ear, time waits for no one, soon what is will be then what ?
Growing up, my mothers hands made cooking and baking look easy. In my mind, no one could whip a meal as fast as she could. Sometimes she would have a couple burns and blisters a sure sign she had come too close to either hot oil or the oven. I would ask her what had happened, almost always, she couldn’t remember. I would ask her if it hurt, most times with a shrug of her shoulders she brushed it aside as nothing. I learned early on, there is no perfect formula of working in the kitchen, it comes with a little pain and that is OK.
Another memory that comes to mind is way back before we had a washing machine and my hands were still too tender to wash my own clothes. Once a week, preferably a sunny day, my mother would pile all our dirty clothes outside in the backyard next to a tub of sudsy water and patiently work through it. It wasn’t until I was a teen by then a pro at doing my own laundry that she told me sometimes the heels of her hands would bleed from washing all our clothes. “The jeans were the worst.” She would say. It wasn’t a complaint of her duties as our mother, just a simple statement of what it took to keep us clean. I don’t remember my mother telling us to play less cause she was afraid of wash day.
If you have followed my blog for awhile, you know of my many adventures with my hair. My hair does not have defined soft curls, if I don’t give it a little help (hair softening products) its a field of knots and kinks that have defiantly broke me and brought me to tears one too many times as a child and dare I confess as an adult too. But my mother knew how to tame the beast. Throughout my childhood and teen years, I would sit by her feet and stiffen my neck as she tamed my wild mane, pulling, tugging till she won. Sometimes it would hurt and I would wince as she plaited it but when she was done, the first thing I would want to do is run out and show off my new hair style to my friends. No pain no gain right?
Now I am older and do my own hair quite well, but still the first thing I want to do when I go home, is sit by my mothers feet and let her conquer my mane again. She doesn’t have to do battle now cause I can afford all the fancy products that make my mane easy to manage. I close my eyes her fingers absentmindedly trace my scalp as her focus is divided between listening to me talking, watching a little bit of TV and examining the health of my strands. She does it effortlessly it is easy to fall asleep to the rhythm of her fingers. In these hands, I am a child again.
Its the first of January as I type this blog post, I have looked at my hands multiple times as I wrote down my thoughts and wondered, in this new year, will my hands bring as much comfort and security to others the way my mothers hands have done for me?