Mothers’ hands make a difference

A gentle caress and wiping a tear across the cheek of her child are just two tender acts of a mother’s hands. While young and beautiful without a blemish, these hands also toil through numerous household chores such as washing dishes, doing laundry, changing diapers and preparing meals. A mother’s hands bandage cuts, make birthday cakes, play ball, scratch backs, turn the pages of storybooks and plant gardens. These hands are the tools used to accomplish countless tasks and are an expression of a mother’s many talents and love. In time, her hands although veined, gnarled, and frail are more beautiful than ever, for they are the outward evidence of many years of tenderness and care.

Mother’s Day is a day set aside once a year to purposely reflect and show gratitude for our mothers. In the early 1900’s a woman named Ann Jarvis set it in motion, and in 1914 President Woodrow Wilson proclaimed that the second Sunday in May should be Mother’s Day.

Before that Julia Ward Howe, who wrote the lyrics to “Battle Hymn of the Republic,” wrote a proclamation in 1870 to call attention to the important role of mothers. An abolitionist reacting to the recent bloodshed of the Civil War, she understood how mothers teach charity, mercy, and what a powerful force they are in the world.

Truly, “the hand the rocks the cradle is the hand that rules the world.” This phrase, from a poem by William Ross Wallace in 1865, conveys the great impact of mothers and how they greatly influence the world by how they raise their children.

While not perfect, mothers gave us life. They always love us, no matter the age. They are happy when we are happy and grieve and worry when we make poor choices or come on hard times. They are quick to forgive and press on through the thick and thin. Certainly, their hands, both young and in advancing years, are often pressed together in prayer for the good of their children. With such sacrifice, love, and devotion for her own children, surely a mother also comes to better understand our Heavenly Father’s love for each of us, his children.

It is through a mother’s gentle touch that a newborn baby comes to know what it is to be secure and loved. A poem by Phyllis Davis beautifully expresses how this basic need follows us through the stages of life and how we can care for our own mother as she advances in years.

Mothers are amazing. In remembrance and love, the older hands featured in the photo are of my grandmother when she was 99 years old. Living past 100, she worked very hard her whole life in caring for her children, particularly during the Depression when she was a single mother.

She loved her grandchildren. Although her hands moved at lightning speed when she crocheted everything from wool blankets to fine lace collars, she still had the patience to teach me as a youngster. She was also the one who with hands of dexterity was somehow able to untangle the knotted and mixed-up strands of many of my necklaces.

Make it a good week and give thanks for mothers!

On a lighter note, in the words of Milton Berle, “If evolution really works, how come mothers only have two hands?”

Send comments to