“Don’t you have any lotion, my Love?” she takes my hands in hers and rubs a thumb over the cracked and bleeding knuckles.
“Put lotion on your hands, Cait. Every day! Every time you wash them.”
I brush her off, mumbling something about the HVAC and being busy and sleep deprived and getting headaches from smelly things.
“OK. But you have to take care of yourself, OK?”
Yeah, sure, OK… whatever you say Mom.
At bed time, I notice a dry spot on Lulu’s hand, worn and red from all the potty-training hand-washing. I quickly grab some lotion; she helps me rub it in, carefully soothing the angry away.
And, as it is with epiphanies, I suddenly understand everything.
Holding her little hand in mine, this becomes my prayer: that somehow all the love and care I show her today stores itself as a balm in her, in her heart. A mama-salve that she can use to sooth any sort of hurt away.
Because when she hurts, I hurt.
And I always will.
She walks into the kitchen, with lotion on her fingertips, taking my cracked and angry hands between her own. Rubbing away the red. Soothing my hurt for me. Loving me in a way I had forgotten to love myself.
On this Valentine’s Day, I’m smothering my hands in lotion. Covering my hands in a love letter. And I’m giving thanks for my Mama, who raised me and healed me and let me grow up.
But not before giving me love in abundance. Love enough to be a healer of my own daughters, and Mama-salve enough to heal myself.
My hands are much better.