Minnesota Prairie Roots

Writing and photography by Audrey Kletscher Helbling

My mother’s hands May 13, 2012

Filed under: Uncategorized — Audrey Kletscher Helbling @ 8:29 AM
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My mother, Arlene, and me.

IT IS THE EARLIEST SNAPSHOT of me and my mom, dated January 1957.

Photos with her are rare; the next comes four years later. Yet, it matters not that my childhood photos fill only a few pages in an album. They are enough to see my mother’s love.

I see it in her hands, always the hands—clasping a baby or holding a toddler or encircling a child.

Hers are the hands that wrapped six babies in blankets, including me, her eldest daughter.

Hers are the hands that guided soiled cloth diapers and my dad’s grimy barn clothes into a Maytag wringer washer.

Hers are the hands that dumped buckets of water into the old tin bath tub on Saturday nights.

Hers are the hands that held books and rocked babies and swiped mecuricome onto skinned knees.

Hers are the hands that seeded seasons of gardens and hoed weeds and preserved the bounty of the earth.

Hers are the hands that peeled potatoes and stirred gravy and fried hamburger into blackened hockey pucks.

Hers are the hands that pressed coins into tiny hands for Sunday School offerings.

Hers are the hands that folded in prayer–for children and husband and her own healing.

Hers are the hands that reached out in love, always, to soothe, to calm, to protect. For nearly 57 years she has been a mother. It has been her life, her calling, and I have been blessed to be her daughter.

These are the hands of my mother, the mother I love always and forever.

© Copyright 2012 Audrey Kletscher Helbling


16 Responses to “My mother’s hands”

  1. Mark Ritchie Says:

    Thank you so much for this reflection – it was such a helping hand to get me to that part of remembering my mom in this way.

    • Audrey Kletscher Helbling Says:

      Thank you, Mark. When I looked at that image of my mom holding me, the hands were the first thing that struck me. And then I started thinking of some of the ways in which she used those hands to care for and raise her family. The list is certainly not inclusive, but it is a start of all she’s done for me and my five siblings.

  2. What a beautiful tribute. Thank you for sharing this!

  3. funny how simple words can make the tears flow.
    great post !!!

  4. ceciliag Says:

    So true and so wonderful My mothers hands were always slightly rough and cool. Never hot or soft.. we do remember our mothers hands don’t we! c

  5. Bernie Says:

    Hard to read through all the tears….at least you didn’t have it to music,
    Very nice….Happy Mothers Day to you and all our moms!

    • Audrey Kletscher Helbling Says:

      I expect, in many ways, that you could relate to this with your mom.

      We love them (our moms) so much, don’t we?

      And Happy Mother’s Day to you, too, Bernie!

  6. dakotagirl Says:

    My first Mother’s Day without my Mom. Tough day.

    • Audrey Kletscher Helbling Says:

      I’m so sorry. The “first” of any memorable date after the loss of a loved one is tough. I asked my husband yesterday if Mother’s Day was difficult for him given his mom died unexpectedly 18 years ago at the age of 59. He said, no. Time does heal.

  7. Lovely! Really lovely. Love the image – bringing a known/understood thing into the world of poetry – makes everyone able to relate…

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