“The final forming of a person’s character lies in their own hands.”
– Anne Frank
So, I’m guessing your response to reading this title is about the same response Richard had when I asked him for a picture of his hand for my blog.
“You want to write about what?”
But yep. ‘Tis true. I want to tell you a story about Richard’s hands.
Now let me start out by saying this: If you know me, you’ll know that it is rare for me to be especially observant of anything. Ever. (I’m the girl who drove by a wreck once without seeing it.) And yet, even with this being the case, those sexy man-hands of the man I love have especially caught my attention in the past few days. So much so that I knew I wanted to write about them. And even I wondered myself where I was going to go with that idea – how in the world would I write a whole blog on a man’s hands? And who in their right mind would actually want to read the dang thing? But finally, I sat down and started to write and, as is often the case, the words started coming out on their own without my help.
I now know exactly why I wanted to write this blog.
First of all, see this picture? This is the “you want to take picture of what?” picture that I asked Richard for. If you’ll notice, his poor little thumb is kinda shattered. You want to know why that is? Well, this sweet guy of mine has spent the past week or so building a chicken coop. Has he ever built a chicken coop before? Nope. Is he a carpenter? Nope. (Note the smashed thumb…) Do we even have a farm? Nope again. But by golly, this fella wanted some chickens, and he got them. And then he wanted them to have a nice place to live. So he built it.
Watching him spend hours of his time and go through cuts and scrapes and bruises in the process over six little chickens that he has grown to love kind of touched a soft spot in my heart all on its own. But then, after looking at his hands and seeing the work they went through for those silly little chickens, I started thinking about all of the other things those hands have done in the past few days.
I moved in with Richard about six months ago. Part of this move involved leaving behind a sweet little neighbor doggy named Sassy whom I had grown to love over the years. It was hard leaving her behind, even though we had no shortage of animals at Richard’s house. Between my cat, his cat and dog, his four horses, and our newly acquired six chickens, we were definitely doing okay in the pet department. And yet…I still missed that sweet little Sassy. I found myself looking at pictures of dogs that were up for adoption – something I had never done before in my life. Sometimes, half jokingly, I would forward these pictures on to Richard with the standard “Awwww, look, Richard…we NEED this dog!” message and he would playfully, but not-so-jokingly, respond with, “We don’t need another dog.” To which I would remind him each and every time that we were all evenly paired up – he and I, my son and daughter, his son and daughter, his male cat and my female cat – all that was left was to find a boy playmate for sweet little lonely Lucy, his female German shepherd. He never took the bait though.
That is, until this week.
In what was strictly an accident (really), I clicked on a link by mistake on Facebook that took me into a buy/sale group for the area I used to live in. When I realized my error and started to click out of it, a picture caught my attention. There, in all his adorable sweet glory, was a little dog that needed a home soon, or else he was being sent to the pound. A little boy. A little boy who happened to look like a brown version of the little Sassy that I missed so much. I read the details about him and the more I read, the more I realized that this really was the dog that would complete our family. I prepared myself to beg Richard. I sent him the standard “We neeeeeeeeeed this dog” (added a few more E’s for emphasis this time) to which I expected to receive the “We don’t need another dog” message. But, much to my surprise, that’s not what popped up on my screen.
Those sexy man hands? They typed this message back to me: “He sure does look like a sweet little fella.”
Whoa. What did he just say? Where’s the “No?” Did I actually have a chance?
So I immediately responded with all the “Here’s why he’d be perfect for us” specs. The next message those glorious hands typed?
“Well, looks like we have a new dog.”
I was ecstatic! We were getting a dog!!
The next few days were a whirlwind. Those hands of his drove us over an hour and a half one-way that very day to pick up my new baby. [We named him Little John Sampson. I know, I know, what kind of name is that? Long story. Basically it started as a joke – if you’re a James Patterson fan, you’ll recognize the character name – but the “joke” kind of stuck. Little John it was!]
We were absolutely in love.
And then, the very next day, something horrible happened. Little John went missing.
He had just been outside playing with Lucy (the two were getting along perfectly) and then – just like that – he was gone. Those hands of Richard’s had to do something that I know broke his heart…they had to type me the message that said, “Sweetheart, I’m sorry, but I can’t find Little John…”
I left work and headed home to help look for him. He was gone. Just…gone.
I couldn’t believe how quickly I had fallen in love with that little boy. His being missing broke my heart in two. I cried and cried and then cried some more. I was so mad at myself. I questioned our ever going to get him in the first place and beat myself up over not taking care of him like I should have. How did I let him disappear like that?
Those hands of Richard’s held me while I cried. They wiped off the tears, they patted my back. And then, feeling like they weren’t doing enough, they went to the computer and typed out a “Lost Dog” flier. Then, they went out and hung the flier up at all the local stores and at the fire department that happens to be at the end of our long driveway.
That night, a storm came. All I could think about was how sweet Little John would never find his way back now that the rains would have washed the scent of his trail away. (I was convinced that he has just run off and had gotten lost in the woods behind our home…I had little hope that the fliers would work or that anyone would actually find him.) Richard and I spent a restless, sad night, missing the sweet little dog that had already stolen both our hearts in the short time that he had been with us.
The next morning, I sullenly went off to work while Richard got to work in his home office. After being at work for a few hours, I somewhat reluctantly decided to post a “Have you seen our dog” picture on Facebook, ashamed to admit that he was already lost so soon after we had gotten him. I just had to do something. I didn’t know if it would work, but it was worth a try.
Within minutes, those hands of Richard’s that I so adore typed the following comment on my picture: “Guess who made it home?” Following the comment, was a picture of my sweet Little John all wet and muddy, but safe and sound.
Our baby was home.
Turns out, those fliers that those sweet hands made had actually worked. Sweet Little John had made his way to the fire department at the end of our driveway and, after realizing he was lost and a storm was coming, had planted himself under the back porch of the fire house and refused to budge. Prior to seeing Richard’s flier, one of the firefighters had been attempting to catch him, but he was hiding and wouldn’t come out. Once the man saw the flier, he called Richard and told him to come get our baby. Once Little John realized it was his daddy calling for him this time, he made his way out and right back into daddy’s waiting hands.
That night, Richard’s hands went to work again cleaning up our sweet baby and getting him ready for mommy snuggles again. Our Little John was right back in his rightful place – the last little piece of the puzzle that made our family complete.
And all of this happened because of Richard’s hands. Those hard-working hands that are so full of love, compassion, tenderness, and strength. Those hands that are strong enough to take care of the tough work that needs to be done, and can then turn around and be tender enough to take care of the gentle tasks like wiping away a woman’s tears and cradling a scared puppy.
Yes sir, I gotta hand it to him (see what I did there?)…that man sure is something special. And I will be more than honored to hold on to those beautiful hands for the rest of my life.
Welcome to a life full of love, sweet Little John. You’re gonna have the best daddy around.