Dad's Hands and Feet

I have my Dad’s hands and feet. A blessing really, since my mom had bunions so bad they had to be corrected with surgery. Dad’s feet are wide and straight with high arches, a broad big toe and curled small toes. So are mine.

Dad’s hands dry out in the winter. As the weather gets colder my skin dries out too. The cuticles on the sides of our thumbs begin to peel. Our double jointedness allows both me and my Dad to use our index fingers to pick at the dry spots on our thumbs until the skin peels off in little slivers, exposing raw flesh.

As a little girl I remember my Dad’s hands being too large for me to hold. Instead my small hands could only wrap around his thumbs. In the winter his thumbs were bound in fabric band-aids to keep the open wounds around the nail beds from getting infected. My palms gripped the tacky woven fabric as we wound through airports and malls.

I see my Dad’s hands and feet doing what they did for so many years after he got sober and joined us in life; washing dishes, cooking dinner, exercising, gardening, playing with children. But those hands and feet are on my body. How lovely and strange to share more than just DNA.


Charlottesville, Virginia

 Kristin Sancken is a parent, writer and social worker who has been published in Huffington Post and The Guardian. To view her other work visit