I remember an old song called "Daddy's Hands"; I can't remember the singer but I do recall that she was in the Country Music Genre. I loved that song.
While I sat beside my mother's hospital bed last Tuesday that song came to mind. Mom suffered a post surgical vertigo attack and the only movement she made without waves of dizziness and nausea for hours seemed to be confined to her fingers.
As I watched those beautiful hands, I remembered various scenes from my childhood or from even my adult life - the times she stroked my hair back from my face when I was ill or simply upset due to a fall out with friends or those gentle hands helping me care for my newborn children.
During the midst of these reflections, I found it quite funny that when I made a silly comment teasing Mom about one aspect of her experience post surgery she retailiated by making a "back handing motion" ....you see, those gentle hands were also known to be capable of delivering the "fastest backhand in the world" by all four of her children.
One example will forever stand out in the collective sibling memory.....during a rather long car trip, three of us sat in the back seat bickering....despite several warnings of a pull-over to deal with us. Eventually, our continued ignoring of those warnings resulted in the threatened pullover.....and the immediate back handing of all three of our faces! Somehow, her hand reached over the back seat of our car, and one by one, in what felt like the speed of light, we all got that back hand.
The back handing was never hard - the affect was based upon the speed of the delivery and the fact that it got our full and undivided attention. There was never a handprint left behind, never a scratch from the rings she somehow managed to spin so the raised bits faced her palms instead of our faces. All that ever remained from the famous back hands were children thinking over the consequences of the lack of respect that we had shown to our mother or to one she was defending.
I needed that visual reminder of just who my mother was during that long day in the Out Patient ward of our local hospital.....role reversal is difficult even when the issue is temporary. Playing the role of protector, nurturer and care - giver to my mother that day was a role reversal....by the simple act of reminding me of the strength of that mostly gentle, always loving hand...my Mom reminded me that she was still the Matriarch....still the elder and still capable of letting me know who was the boss!