my grandmother’s hands

One night, in the circle of women, I told the story of my grandmother’s hands.

The hands that chopped and seasoned and scrubbed and laundered:

working hands.


The hands that cradled and caressed and stroked and wiped tears away:

loving hands.


The hands that knit and sewed and crocheted and cross stitched:

creative hands.


The hands that pointed and gestured and clapped and flew through the air:

powerful hands.


Above all, the hands that were poised in patience: returning, repeating, redoing.

It was the patience part that I didn’t get for a long time. That’s what I told the circle of women.

Bereft of patience, my own hands got angry at the returning, repeating, redoing.

They wanted their freedom, to be released, to be done.

Until one cloudy afternoon (long after my grandmother was gone), in the midst of chopping vegetables, it was as if my grandmother’s hands gently covered my own.

Guiding them. Slowing them down. Teaching them patience.

Asking me to consider, simply consider, that the mysteries of the universe were hidden in the layers of an onion or the leaves of an artichoke.

Awakening me to the possibility that my hands held a kind of creative wisdom that my brain couldn’t quite fathom.

As I came to the end of my story I knew that every woman in the room had listened to me and loved me just as my grandmother had.

Every woman in the room, in fact, was a grandmother in that moment.

Each truly seeing and celebrating the grandmother power circling amongst us.

Each gladly initiating one another into the creative wisdom that flowed through our hands.

Each proudly carrying the legacy of her own grandmother’s hands.

And not caring that some of us were 30 or 46 or 62 or 39 or 57.

Not caring that some of us would never have children or be grandmothers in the literal sense of the word.

Recognizing and resting in the truth that grandmother power and wisdom was available to each of us. Right here. Right now.


Many thanks to Tara Sophia Mohr for creating the Grandmother Power Blogging Campaign. Please visit and read the heartfelt posts about grandmother power.

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6 thoughts on “my grandmother’s hands

  1. This is beautiful writing. I loved the pictures as well. Your creativity just expands more and more. I love it:~)

    I didn’t really have grandparents who were as you describe, but I’ve had plenty of people in my life who served in the role of teaching me about patience, joy, love, and taking life at a slower pace. Some have been older than me and some younger than me. Some have even been animals…

    I suppose we all have “grandmothers” in our lives and they come in so many different forms. BTW I like Tara Sophia Mohr.

  2. my mother in law was like my mom.She taught me cooking the old traditional way. I always found pleasure in telling her how i can do it faster with precut onions,and canned tomatoes than patiently chopping them slowly by hand.My scientific mind could not see the difference in taste. I never realised how much I was getting by cooking her way. Thanks for the post. Happy holidays.

    Hema Chandrasekhar.

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