This Mother's Day I saved some money and gave myself a pedicure. I don't get them often, but it just seemed silly as a working mom to take more time away from my kids on Mother's Day to go to the salon. So now I have some pretty feet, and still own the $30 I would have spent. Except one thing. Every time I look at them I do a double take because I think they belong to my mom. See, I have her hands. I probably always have, but I just started realizing it in my 30's. Maybe it is the doula work and loads of handwashing involved in keeping mamas and babies safe from roaming germs. Maybe it is the extra freckles I seem to get every visit outside sans sunscreen. But they are growing more like hers all the time. Sometimes I look down and I don't even see my hands. They are hers, or at least hers at the age I mentally stopped her aging (late 30's, I think). That is me, and there they are. Good, strong, loving hands that get work done. Not the prettiest hands, but caring and hardworking hands to be proud of.
My mom is a lovely woman. Servant hearted. Great cook. A homemaker for most of my life. Takes great care of herself, as well as her feet. She changes her hair every few months (you can date her by her hairstyles over the years), works in the garden and then gets a manicure. She is a great combo of wonderfulness, including being the best role model a postpartum doula can dream of. But I just didn't expect that I would reflect so much of her physically. I have always taken after my dad but as I have aged I have found more and more attributes that relate me to her. (I used to have to introduce her as 'my real mom' since many didn't see a resemblance for much of my young life. But those differences are fading quickly, inside and out.)
It makes me wonder how I would feel about it if she weren't here. Like so many of the women I serve, if I had no living mother to honor on Mother's Day it would make me really love those hands and feet. Not that they are her best features (I got both of those too; her smiling eyes and great legs--thanks, Ma) but just that they would be a piece of something I had lost. So, as much as I know it is a painful day for so many, I celebrate that I have a living benefactor that gave me her her hands and feet. And I am grateful. (And then I wonder what my daughter will get from me....hopefully I will be there to find out.)