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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The Thank You My Dad Deserves

While our moms are always the heroes, our dads deserve some credit, too.
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Dear Dad,

You’ve gone a really long time without being thanked. I'm not talking about thanks for things like opening the Gatorade bottle I couldn't or checking my tires when my car’s maintenance light is flashing, but rather the thanks I owe you for shaping me into the person I am today.

Thank you for teaching me what I deserve and for not letting me settle for anything less.

While the whole world was telling me I wasn’t good enough, you were there to tell me I was. Whether this was with boys, a friend, or anything else, you always built my confidence to a place I couldn’t build it to on my own. You showed me what my great qualities were and helped me feel unique. But most of all, you never let me settle for anything less than what I deserved, even when I wanted to. Without you, I wouldn’t be nearly as ambitious, outgoing or strong.

Thank you for giving me someone to make proud.

It’s hard to work hard when it’s just for myself, but so easy when it’s for you. All through school, nothing made me happier than getting a good grade back because I knew I got to come home and tell you. With everything I do, you give me a purpose.

SEE ALSO: 20 Things You Say When Calling Your Dad On The Phone

Thank you for showing me what selflessness looks like.

You are the prime example of what putting your family first looks like. If me wanting something means that you can’t get what you want, you’ll always sacrifice. From wearing the same t-shirts you’ve had since I was in elementary school so I could buy the new clothes I wanted, to not going out with your friends so you could come to my shows, you never made a decision without your family at the forefront of your mind. If there is one quality you have that I look up to you for the most, it’s your ability to completely put your needs aside and focus entirely on the wants of others.

Thank you for being the voice in the back of my head that shows me wrong from right.

Even though many of your dad-isms like “always wear a seatbelt” easily get old, whenever I’m in a situation and can’t decide if what I’m doing is right or wrong, I always can hear you in the back of my head pointing me in the right direction. While I may not boost your ego often enough by telling you you’re always right, you are.

Thank you for being real with me when nobody else will.

Being your child hasn’t always been full of happiness and encouragement, but that’s what makes you such an integral part of my life. Rather than sugarcoating things and always telling me I was the perfect child, you called me out when I was wrong. But what separates you from other dads is that instead of just knocking me down, you helped me improve. You helped me figure out my faults and stood by me every step of the way as I worked to fix them.

Most of all, thank you for showing me what a great man looks like.

I know that marriage may seem very far down the road, but I just want you to know that whoever the guy I marry is, I know he’ll be right because I have an amazing guy to compare him to. I know you’re not perfect (nobody is), but you’ve raised me in a such a way that I couldn’t imagine my kids being raised any differently. Finding a guy with your heart, drive, and generosity will be tough, but I know it will be worth it.


Dad, you’re more than just my parent, but my best friend. You’re there for me like nobody else is and I couldn’t imagine being where I am now without you.

Love you forever,

Your little girl

Cover Image Credit: Caity Callan

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This Is What Being Away From Home Taught Me About My Home

... It's ok to make plans with people besides your mom.

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My home, for as long as I can remember, has been my safe haven. No matter how many arguments my family and I got into, I always knew my home to be a place where I could feel safe, at peace, grounded, and most importantly, comfortable.

This is why, when I decided to embark on a journey to Israel, 6,000 miles away felt like I was traveling into space. I felt as if I couldn't move forward without my mom by my side, reminding me everything is going to be okay. The relationship that my mom and I have is a special one, and knowing that I was not in close proximity to her created much-unwanted anxiety for us both. Knowing that while she may have only been a phone call away, that she wouldn't be able to come hold me if I needed her to, was something I really struggled with.

While I was away, I had hoped that my excitement for the trip and the adventures that were to come would keep me grounded and sane. Unfortunately, as the days went on, I became more and more homesick. However, I was able to learn some really important lessons in terms of the importance of my home, and sometimes the need to escape it.


The new friendships I made showed me that sometimes it's okay to make plans with people besides your mom (only partially joking).

The new foods I tried showed me that there are so many different types of foods that my chef of a mother hasn't even heard of.

The new experiences showed me just how important it is to step out of my comfort zone, even if doing so means I have to be 6,000 miles away from the comfort of my mom's arms.


There are hundreds of thousands of things that this trip has taught me, but it especially taught me that life exists away from your home as well. While it is natural to want to stay close to the things that bring you comfort, it is also essential that you allow yourself to grow.

I couldn't be luckier to have had such an incredible experience abroad, but I also couldn't be luckier to have been able to come home to a mom that was waiting with open arms and open ears.

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