Thursday, June 23, 2011
There's a scene in the movie Beaches when Barbara Hershey is all pale and ghostly in her bed at the beach cottage waiting to die, and she freaks out saying, "Her hands -- I can't remember my mother's hands."
Bette Midler, the dutiful friend, scours through boxes of photos until they find one, and all is well. And the implication is that she won't let her daughter forget her hands either.
I like this movie. I liked it when I was a young college woman, and I've liked it every time I've seen it since. I don't care that it's an over-dramatic emotion-manipulating movie. However, I never really got the frantic nature of this particular scene. She's worried about hands??
But I've been noticing Amanda's hands a lot lately. She has beautiful long slim fingers. When I was about her age, a coltish girl-woman with long legs, and yes, beautiful long slim fingers, people would always comment on them and say that they were good hands for the piano.
And then I thought back to my mother's hands. I do remember them (and to clarify, they are still around) -- tanned and sleek, with prominent finger bones. I remember Mimi's, too, and in fact, one of my favorite pasttimes as a young girl was to play with the protruding veins (which I'm now developing on my own hands) -- pushing them around. One of her favorite "Jennifer and/or Karen as a little girl" stories is me rubbing an age spot (which thankfully I do not yet have), and saying "dirty."
Since Amanda's hands began catching my eye, I've come to appreciate Barbara Hershey's concern. We see ourselves in our kids, and hopefully they see us in themselves (and take some sort of pride in that). Amanda's hands probably are a close approximation of mine as a young teen, but now somehow make mine look old and withered. I look at hers and feel like they look exactly like mine, but then I look down at the effects that 40 years of use have given them, and reality reminds me that she is young and I am getting older. But perhaps as she continues to grow, she'll serve as a concrete reminder of my youth.