Saturday Sense ~ Warm Hands

Mother and Me
Mother and Me

One of the most precious feelings I know is the warmth of a ‘wrinkled old hand’  in mine.  The reassuring squeeze that makes everything okay; that is the embodiment of empathy and true love.

When I was about five, I remember cuddling up to my mother in bed and holding her hand.

I love your wrinkles, I said, meaning it with all my heart.

Mother was only in her early forties then. She had lovely soft, warm skin and hardly a wrinkle then, or indeed ever in her long life.

I see now why she was rather taken aback by my remark. I think it made her feel very old but it’s her hands that I think of today, especially after reading this gem of a poem:

 The Little Boy and the Old Man

Said the little boy, “Sometimes I drop my spoon.”
Said the old man, “I do that too.”
The little boy whispered, “I wet my pants.”
“I do that too,” laughed the little old man.
Said the little boy, “I often cry.”
The old man nodded, “So do I.”
“But worst of all,” said the boy, “it seems
Grown-ups don’t pay attention to me.”
And he felt the warmth of a wrinkled old hand.
“I know what you mean,” said the little old man.
(Shel Silverstein)

Author: socialbridge

I am a sociologist and writer from Ireland. I have worked as a social researcher for 30 years and have had a lifelong passion for writing. My main research interests relate to health care and I love to write both non-fiction and poetry.

6 thoughts on “Saturday Sense ~ Warm Hands”

  1. I love that poem it is a timely reminder of how we treat older people…. not always as we should.
    Your memory of being on bed with your mum put me on mind of the pain words can accidentally cause
    I was the last of a large family and when I was 5yrs my mum was in her late 50s . One day when she picked me up from school I asked her why she was not young like all the other mummies…
    I cringe even now at the thought of it. Xxx

    1. Hi Willow, it’s a superb poem, isn’t it!
      I’m glad to say that Mother and I had a chance to talk about my childhood comment when I was in my early 40s. We had a good laugh about it and she still didn’t have any wrinkles worth talking about at that stage!

  2. I so love that poem. I hadn’t read it in ages. So thank you! It’s funny because sometimes we don’t pay attention to the little ones any more than we do the older ones….

    As for Willow, I had a co-worker who also had her son at late age and had a similar thing happen to her. He asked her why she wasn’t young and sexy like the others! Ouch.

    1. Hello Dale, it’s interesting how both you and Willow have picked up on what I now see is the probably the key message of the poem ~ the way we tend to overlook the views of youngsters as well as older people.
      However, what really draws me to the poem every time is the way in which it so beautifully highlights the incredibly strong bonds that can exist across the generations.
      When I was in my early twenties, for example, I was extremely close to an aunt who was in her 80s and she was a person who held me hand in a wonderfully reassuring way. I suspect that the hand-holding, which she always instigated, was as significant for her as it was for me.
      It wasn’t so much that I thought my mother was older than friends’ mothers (they all seemed ancient!), it was that that I genuinely loved the way her face ‘creased’ when she smiled. I had no notion that wrinkles were associated with ageing and thought I was paying her a huge compliment!
      No doubt, more recent five and six year olds are a lot more aware about these things!

      1. Absolutely. I am a “hands” person and notice everyone’s. I can tell you who bites their nails, who’s are small or large for their person, strongs ones, wrinkly ones… I love them all, to tell the truth! This may sound weird but I wish I had taken pictures of my grand-mother’s and father’s hands when I had the chance…

  3. That’s a lovely photo of you and your mom. I wish I had one like that with mine, but all I have are the very vivid memories of tucking my little feet into her flannel gown on a cold morning, her lying down with me to take a nap until I fell asleep. Watching her cook and learning how to make things with a handful of this and a handful of that and a pinch of this spice. Playing games on the kitchen table while she cooked just so we could be near her more. With 10 children, she managed to make us all feel like we were her favorite one, quite an accomplishment. Thanks for the reminder. She has been gone over 30 years, but I think of her every day. Happy Mother’s Day.

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