I don't care if my hands look old.

Hands with a baby

The quiet evenings of small-town living took me by surprise when we moved into our little corner of Iowa last year. No horns beeping, no planes zooming by.

Just the occasional hum of a cicada.

Just quiet.

With a three-year-old boy, a baby, and a dog, our house is normally full of noise. Happy noise.

But still, noise.

So when our sleepy town turns off its porch lights, and Joseph drifts off to sleep in his twin bed that I can’t believe he’s starting to make look small, it’s just me and my thoughts.

Tonight, when my world was quiet, the dim glow of a nightlight kept me company as I placed a sleepy and well-fed Asher on the changing table. I grabbed a cozy pair of footie pajamas and started to gently place his chubby, dusted-with-baby-powder thighs into the legs, moving his soft toes into the footies with froggies on them. And I began to snap up the jammies.

In the still of the night, I could hear the soft snaps bring the pajamas into place.

Snap.

Snap.

Snap.

The soft light of the hall nightlight was a spotlight on my hands.

And all at once, I was overwhelmed.

I looked at my hands, snapping those sweet footie pajamas. I was overcome.

The little baby on the changing table will grow, but I will always have these hands that in the quiet of the night, gently snapped pajamas together.

When my great-grandpa died, I was about 10 and could barely grasp what any of it meant. As I sat awkwardly in the uncomfortable church pew at the funeral, not really knowing how to act or what to say, one of my great uncles began to speak.

He said that as he looked at his father’s hands, thin and full of cracks and crevices, he remembered all the things those two hands had done. Cranked ice cream. Worked in the fresh dirt. Drove the old tractor. Held his children, and then grandchildren, and then great-grandchildren.

I want my hands to tell a story. When I reach the sunset of my life, I want to look at my wrinkles and know that each line means something.

I want my hands to get dirty. To get messy. I want my hands to make memories. To serve not just myself, not just my family, but strangers who are indeed very precious to God but who could desperately use a hand up.

So instead of rubbing in anti-aging lotions, I’ll be writing a story with my hands, snap by snap.

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