For years, my mom has asked me to take portraits of her hands. She is a chiropractor and makes her living from her hands. She is proud of her worker’s hands. They are strong, thick. They remind her of the rough, German-blooded hands of my grandpa, who worked as a farmer since well before the Great Depression. She made sure she had her hands bent so I could photograph the wrinkles because “they are her favorite part.” As she says, she likes that her hands are not dainty and show a lifetime of work.
Today, my mother is having surgery to remove a tumor in the covering of her brain. We expect wonderful results, as her case has been described as “textbook” but the air is filled with our nerves anyway. The tumor was discovered several weeks ago from an MRI after months of an unexplained visual disturbance. The tumor, which is the size of a raquetball, is noncancerous and has likely been slowly growing for decades. I’m so thankful my mom kept pursuing answers until the cause of her blind spots was found.
So today, I’m taking a moment to thank my mom for her hardworking hands. She raised me and my two sisters with those hands. Built a chiropractic office known throughout the country for it’s quality of care. I’ve seen her hands complete miracles, literally saving the lives of her patients. So today, as she steps out of her comfort zone and is the patient for once, beginning a 6 week recovery, I want to honor the hard work that my mother’s hands have instilled with me. I will cherish every wrinkle as it appears on my hand. I will take pride in the fact that I have the thick, German fingers of my grandfather. We have the hands of work.