If he's not quite into the idea of sleeping right away, I often stroke his forehead. Or, more often, I pat his back, or lightly rub it in a circular motion. If he's on his front, I softly pat his chest.
Because his crib is so tall (it has wheels on the bottom of it, it's an older style, and they don't come off), and I get nauseous standing and leaning over the side of it, I sit on a stool beside it, and I drape my arms over. While it generally starts cutting off the circulation in a matter of seconds, I tough it out as best I can so that my little boy will relax and drift off to sleep.
Tonight, as I sat there, patting and rubbing his back, I was watching my hands. And, out of nowhere, it hit me that I have "mother hands" now.
What does that mean, you ask?
Well, to me, it means that they are starting to resemble my mother's hands, my aunts' hands, or my grandmother's hands. They're no longer child-soft skin. I have small scars, nicks, a few small drier patches, and they're tan. They are starting to feel a little leathery.
Of course, this is probably due to the fact that I'm 2 years shy of thirty years old.
Does it bother me? Not a bit.
As I sit there, stroking his back, noticing that because of the lack of circulation to my hand, the veins on the back of my hand puff out a little more. My knuckles seem to have deep, distinguished wrinkles on them. I'm wearing a soft, brown sweater. My hands, to me, look like a mom's hands.
I sat there, imagining what it would have looked like 27 years ago, when I was Spencer's age, and my mother would be stroking my own back, or patting me to sleep. She was younger than I was when her first child (me) was born. But, I imagined the motions were the same. I imagined the Emotions were the same as well. Love. Patience. Kindess. Compassion. Peace.
And then, I imagined my grandmother, softly patting her children and grandchildren to sleep.
I saw myself in a long line-up of generations of mothers that raised their children before me, all caressing their beloved child as they drifted into peaceful sleep.
As Spencer's eyelids grew quite heavy and the last few flutters from open to close passed, I had an overwhelming feeling of perfection.
My hands are perfect, in their aging, scarred imperfection.
My hands are mother's hands.