My Hands

My handsMy hands looked old and wrinkled from the time I was born! They are just as wrinkled on the top as inside. I began playing the piano when I was seven and there was no way to hide those ugly hands. I stopped biting my nails, so at least my fingers (also wrinkled!) would look a little better.

No amount of cream helped to get rid of their roughness. Often times during the winter my fingers would bleed because of the tiny cracks. Oh, and the freckles…why did there have to be so many?

Years later, on a flight home during college, I sat doing my studies. A well dressed business man was sitting next to me. At one point this nosy passenger said to me, “Miss, if you don’t do something about those hands now, by the time you are older, they are going to look awful.”

Rude. Tacky.  Pathetic. My first reaction was to cry. My second reaction was to tell him what I thought of him. I’m so glad I chose instead to give him my biggest smile and say, “Thank you for noticing my hands!”

It was at that exact moment…age 19… I felt very good about the hands God had given me. I felt blessed! I never looked at my hands in the same way. I loved every wrinkle, every freckle.

I’m much older now. In fact, small age spots have joined the party. I wish I could find that passenger now, show him my hands and let him know I continue to be proud of my old, rough, wrinkled hands! Guess what? They almost look just like they did when I was 19 years old!!

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16 Responses to My Hands

  1. Joan Packard says:

    Oh, if he could only know what you have touched and created with your marvelous hands!


  2. Nea says:

    Thank you for posting this. It is amazing what happens when we make a choice to feel good. I love this story and am grateful to have the opportunity to read it. We are exactly perfect as we are, otherwise we wouldn’t be as we are.


    • Ruth Packard says:

      Thank you, Nea. I would love to have a nickel for every time I try to help a child understand how to react to peer situations that arise in our classroom. We constantly talk about our emotions and choices we need to make.


  3. 6ftmama says:

    Yes, Ruth, I feel your pain. I was 6ft tall at 13. I can relate to arriving at the destination a little prematurely 😉


    • Ruth Packard says:

      Jennifer, I grew up in the generation where our report cards listed our weight and height. The teacher rolled the big scales into our classroom and began calling us up to the front of the room. I knew what was to come…especially in 4th grade. The teacher called each name and number out loud. He always laughed at my weight and the class joined him.

      Now a look on the bright side…This humiliation made me determined to excel in my studies.

      I love how you refer to us as “arriving at the destination a little prematurely.” That’s good!


  4. I tend to ignore my hands too. I have often envied the well-manicured women flashing their lovely polished nails, many with jewels or other addded stardust, Nail polish seems to make my nails get really dried out and split. So I gave that up. I’ve decided to be happy with my hands as well.


  5. As a teacher technology exposes my hands more than I want. The doc camera shows my hands–age spots, crepy skin, and swollen joints. I see my hands more than my face. My hands look older than my face. Very nice post. Sorry about the passenger. Glad you didn’t throw him off the plane.


    • Ruth Packard says:

      I forgot all about the doc camera! I don’t use one now with 4 and 5 year olds but there are a couple of the children who like to touch the top of my hands to move the wrinkles around!


  6. I love your story and how you managed to turn around a stranger’s comment into a positive appreciation of what you have. I think your hands are beautiful!


  7. Susan says:

    Your hands may have been rough but not nearly as rough as his manners. Be glad you don’t live in a world where your only interaction with a stranger is to criticize him.

    My hands are in and out of water, dirt and paint all the time. My skin is rough, my nials often broken or covered in paint. I would love for them to be pretty and look like a model’s hands but they serve me well. And that’s all that matters.


    • Ruth Packard says:

      Susan, I never thought until your comment about how much money we save by not having models’ hands. Aren’t their insurance premiums very large?!!

      Thank you for reading and commenting!


      • Susan says:

        Ruth, I never thought about insurance rates for hand models but I guess they would be high. Can’t afford to have anything mar them.

        That being said, I’ve often thought my daughter should be a hand model. She has long, tapered fingers, smooth soft skin…hmm…didn’t get that from me!


  8. Austin Billhime(your favorite twin nephew) says:

    Hey, not many people can say that. Thank goodness it wasn’t me in your shoes. I would probably have chosen reaction 2, unless my mom would be on the plane with me. Instead I’d just sit their and listen to her give him reaction 2.(:


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