Homage To My Mother: Rough Hands

Homage To My Mother: Rough Hands

A special thanks to my mother, my hero.


I have rough hands.

It’s probably because I don’t moisturize as regularly as I should.

But something about my rough hands appeals to me.

It means I’m not idle.

It means I fought.

It means I carried things, the world on my back, and I remain standing here today, with my rough hands to tell you the story of my trials.

But we all have those-

The stories about how we endured pain and suffering.

I will not tell you that story today.

But I will tell you about the lessons I have learned that have made me appreciate my rough hands. I remember when I was much younger - maybe five or six - I would see my mother teach a housekeeper how to do the housework.

This is how you throw down the bed.

Take the sheets off, put them in the basket, get the newly pressed sheets, place it on the bed, bend the corners and smooth it with your hands.

Of course at that age, I tried, and somewhat succeeded.

Despite it not reflecting the best result, where the sheets were sort of crooked and the corners jutted out, her eyes danced with pride.

So she crouched in front of me, took my hands and brought them to her lips.

We moved on to the washing of the linens.

She brought the big orange tub out, filled it with water, threw in some detergent, then the linens.

She gestured to a housekeeper and showed her how it was done.

She sat on her knees, fixed her hair and plunged her perfectly manicured hands into the water and started scrubbing the linens with a brush.

Dunk the linen in the water.

Brush, brush, brush.

Dunk the linen in the water.

Brush, brush, brush.

Not even a sweat.

She’d look up at me, and I would run to the basin, water sloshing from her movements.

So she taught me.

She took my hands in her cold ones and showed me the motions.

And I did it. And she beamed.

We walked on to the living room.

She took a broom, and showed a housekeeper how to sweep.

Then she took a rag and dumped it in the pail filled with detergent and soap.

She got down and started cleaning and wiping the floors with the rag.

And I wanted to do it, so she showed me.

She showed me how to get the tricky corners.

She showed me how to clean fast and efficiently.

She showed me how to get rid of the excess water from the rag.

And a light in her was ignited once again.

It was a connection that only she and I had, a connection that proved to her that she too mattered and could impart knowledge on to me.

You see, my mother is woman who never had the chance to follow her dreams.

My mother is a woman who was groomed to be a housewife, and in the end, that’s all she thought she knew.

Her hands are not rough like mine - they’re soft and always perfect.

But she remains a woman, a woman of this time.

By now you’re thinking, that’s really sad.

No modern woman would want to be stuck in a world like hers.

But why can’t you have both worlds? My mother has a gift, and resumed pursuing her dreams and went on to become a fashion designer for Moroccan attire. But she was never willing to give up her life as a housewife either. It’s part of her. And that’s why I am reluctant about softening my hands.

My rough hands remind me that I have the skill to be a housewife, and I have the skill to be the owner of production company or perhaps a partner at a law firm. People look at me always and tell me, “Sooky, you would make a great wife someday.” And then I ask them, “Why?” They answer, “Because you cook well, clean well, take care of people like a mother or a wife should.” I take pride in that. But I am also angered by it. If my mother has taught me anything, it’s that people will affect the perception of yourself, whether you want it or not. There was a period in my life where I had started to believe that. That I could only be one woman. The domestic or the independent. And today I ask you, why can’t you be both? And to those who say that I’ll be a great wife someday for the wrong reasons, I say, “Perhaps.”

And If I do so choose to get married, I will be a great wife for being myself, both a woman who can get a wine stain out of a blouse, and the woman who produced Oscar winning movies, or won a million dollar case. I have the best of both worlds in me, and that doesn’t make me any less of a woman. That makes me the woman, with the rough hands, of my dreams.

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This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.

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