500 Words On The Importance Of Hands

500 Words On The Importance Of Hands

Really, it's a metaphor for life.
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A baby grips its father’s single, pointer finger. A mother gently cradles its head. From soft back rubs lulling you to sleep, to a light caress on a cheek from a lover. From a first, hesitant holding of hands to a familiar interlocking of fingers.

Life is made up of hands. Hands that hold and fingers that feed, even palms that slap and fists that punch.

On a cold January morning, I woke with a jump. Eyes wide and eyebrows raised, I bounced out of bed, a toothless smile plastered on my face. It was my birthday. It was not only my birthday, it was my fifth birthday. My little feet picked up their pace as I bounded down the stairs. I collided into my mother who proceeded to hug and kiss me, and then sing a horrible rendition of “Happy Birthday.”

Outside was my father. He was working on one of his many family projects that would end up uncompleted in a haphazard tangle of bolts and screws and wood in the backyard. His hands were always calloused from his work. I dashed outside as fast as my small legs would carry me. He turned quickly at the sound of my footsteps, a smile overcoming his face as he crouched down to one knee. His arms were open and warm as I leapt into them and he swung me around.

“Happy birthday!” He said, enthusiastically. I could feel his big, stubby fingers combing through my hair.

Then he held up a hand, a hand much larger than my own, and counted the five digits on it. “Jamie, you’re a whole hand!”

And on my tenth birthday, I was two hands. On my fifteenth, I was three—or, two hands and a foot. All of my life has been the counting of fingers and hands as I grow older each year.

It is human nature to fear the future, as people fear death and the dark. We all fear the unknown-- we fear what we do not know or understand. But there is nothing scary about hands. We know hands. Hands are what brought us into this world, into the open arms of doctors and nurses. Hands are what we will leave with, a loved one’s gentle grip on a motionless hand. Each year of my life is just another finger added-- each finger shows experience, each hand shows wisdom.

In the end, we all grow up and we all grow old. Not everything ends up the way it is supposed to or the way people plan. Sometimes things go wrong and there is nothing to be done about it. However, you can choose how you react to it. Circumstances may change and life can become convoluted, but what counts is not what happens to you—it is what you do about it. Each person can decide how good or bad each finger turns out to be. Each person can determine the outcome of his or her own life-- if they decide to.

I have decided to let my hands wrinkle with my experience and to let them become calloused with my hard work. I have decided to look at my life without fear.

After all, life is only a bunch of hands—and what is so scary about that?

Cover Image Credit: firedepartment.org

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7 Reasons Becoming An Aunt Is The Best Thing In The World

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My aunt always used to tell me "there is no love in the world like an aunt for her niece." And I never understood what she meant until five and a half years ago, when I was blessed with a niece of my own. She is my world, my best little friend, my everything. And if you aren't lucky enough at this point in your life to experience what its like to have the gift of a niece, I'll let you know what it entails.

1. She never turns down an ice cream date

When you start to grow up, you realize some people become adults and start having their own way of life that sometimes you don't agree with. For me, it was realizing some people actually care about calories and sugar intake, and I began to get turned down when I would ask my best friends if they wanted to get ice cream with me. But then I got a niece, and we are currently about 27 for 27 with accepting my offers for an ice cream date.

2. In her eyes, you can do no wrong.

When everyone else in the world is doubting you, you'll always have your little sidekick who hasn't got a doubt in the world that you can do it. You are her cool aunt, and you are perfect and she loves you more than anything in the world.

3. She'll tell you if your dress doesn't match your shoes.

Are you really going to wear that to the party, Paigey? She always wants you to look like the princesses she watches on Disney Channel every day. She tells it like it is, because she doesn't really know any better, and that is something you just don't get in a lot of your peers anymore... Mostly because they aren't five years old, and they have a filter, unlike her.

4. Most things society frowns upon you doing? Yeah, she thinks you're that much cooler if you do them.

Such as eating marshmallows for dinner or wearing a princess crown in a fancy restaurant.

5. She's always excited to see you.

It fills your heart to see someone's face light up with joy at the sight of you, and with nieces, this happens each and every time you see them. Talk about a confidence booster.

6. She reminds you how to be a kid again, and how precious it is.

I get to be my five-year-old self when I hang out with her, and I remember how to be the carefree, happy, and naive little girl that I was when I was young. She gives me such an appreciation for my childhood and brings out the best in me that, over the past 15 years of me growing up, I forgot I had in me.

7. When everyone else in the world walks out, your niece never will.

You were her very first best friend, and she will always be your whole world.

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Merry Christmas To My Angel In Heaven

"And I wish you were here, and I wonder." ~Scotty McCreary

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As I think about the holidays, my mind forces itself to think about my grandpa. In June 2015 my grandpa passed away, becoming my angel.

I find myself thinking about him more and more each holiday season. This year I found myself thinking about him since November. There is a song by Scotty McCreary that I think of in particular when I think of my grandpa called "Christmas in Heaven."

The lyrics in this song make me think about what Christmas in Heaven would be like. Is my grandfather a part of the beautiful scene that makes Christmas what it is? "Are you singing with angels Silent Night? … Are you part of that glorious Holy Night?"

My grandfather was a Catholic man who loved the holidays because he got to see family. He loved his family, God, and Christmas.

To my angel in heaven,

I love you so much. I miss you every single day. I wish you were here with me to celebrate Christmas like we used to.

Christmas just isn't the same without my Papa to celebrate with me.

I am going to Italy right after Christmas, and I get to go into the Vatican City. I am sure that is a place you had hoped to go one day. Maybe you're there now to be with the Pope.

I will say a prayer for you while I am there.

I am trying to make you proud with all that I do. Make sure you come around to let all of us know you're there every once in a while. I know you are with Grandma always! She misses you so much more than the rest of us.

I hope I am making you proud. I hope you look at your friends up in Heaven and say "That's my granddaughter."

I think about you all the time. I hope you don't miss us too much but know that we miss you like crazy.

Each Veteran's Day I think about you and just how much I miss you. I also think about how lucky I am to have had you as my grandpa. You were the best grandpa I could have ever asked for.

I don't know many people my age who can say that their grandfather served their country in the Korean War. Not many can say that their grandfather was strong enough to survive a prison camp during that war, the way you were and did.

It makes me feel so proud to be your granddaughter. I miss you so much Grandpa, and I hope that you are just as proud to be my grandpa as I am to be your granddaughter.

Merry Christmas, Grandpa. I love you so, so, so much, and I miss you every day.

Love Always,

Your Emma Leigh

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