It's the end of the day and I rub aloe into my dry hands.
And is it any wonder. These hands endure being washed after every diaper change, every bathroom trip, every request for Mommy, come wipe me! They change the cat litter, clean up accidents, and scrub down the toilet. They spend an inordinate amount of time far too near someone else's bodily waste. More soap, more water.
These hands hold the broom, the vacuum, the rag. They wash dishes in hot soapy water. They do laundry - sort, carry, transfer, fold - and then put clothes and towels in their respective places, begin again, never ending.
These hands stir soups and knead dough and chop vegetables. They endure burns and cuts in their effort to fill and nourish. Yesterday I slipped while dicing the squash; the dark red blood ran down my finger as I fumbled with the bandage.
These hands wipe messy faces and wash sticky hands. They bathe and dry and clothe. They fix owies and wipe noses, pull warm blankets over sleeping children.
These hands turn pages in books, type words onto the screen, write down scribbles - grocery lists, reminders, little things. They write letters to loved ones, press a stamp onto the corner and drop them in red mailboxes.
These hands lift tiny babies and growing toddlers and big boys. They stroke hair, cup chins, rub backs. They cradle and soothe and comfort and love.
Come evening, these hands wash away the day's troubles. They bring cool water to my lips, satisfy my physical thirst, then open God's Word and satisfy another thirst entirely.
They nurture myself, my family, others, my home.
It's the end of the day and these dry hands? They have earned their aloe.