“Your hands are so rough and ugly! I don’t want my classmates to see them and laugh at me!” a boy told his mother. Little did he know that he would regret saying these words to his mother a few days later.
What will I do now? Catherine wondered after her husband left her. The mother of three met her husband when she was in college and left her studies because she was pregnant with their first child. Soon, she married her husband and had two more children, unaware of how her life would soon take a turn for the worse.
Ten years later, her husband left her. Catherine had stayed at home all her life to look after her children, but now, she had to step out and earn money to make ends meet. With zero work experience and no professional degree, her chances of getting hired for a well-paying position were next to zero.
One day, after dropping her children at school, Catherine found a store that was hiring for a worker with no experience requirements. She went inside, and the management hired her on the spot after learning about her circumstances.
The single mother was happy and worked at the store for a few months until she realized her children were getting older and she needed more money to make ends meet.
Should I ask for a raise? she thought. Catherine was sure she wouldn’t get a raise, but even if she did, it wouldn’t be enough to meet her family’s increasing needs.
The following day, Catherine was walking home after her shift at the store when she spotted a construction site. I think I can work here, she thought and approached the manager.
“Hi, are you hiring?” she asked.
“Yes, we are,” the manager looked at Catherine from head to toe. “Are you sure you can work here? This job requires a lot of hard work.”
Catherine loved working with her father in his workshop as a child. They often did projects in the backyard, so she knew how hard it was to work with bare hands.
“Your hands are so ugly. They’re so hard and rough,” he added.
“I’m ready for it,” she told the manager and signed a contract to work a 12-hour shift. The money she would make working here was more than her current salary, so she left her job at the store and worked full-time at the construction site.
However, Catherine kept her new job a secret from her children. She thought they would feel embarrassed after learning their mother worked at a construction site. Even Catherine felt ashamed of working there but had no other option. She wanted money to fulfill her children’s needs.
Every morning, Catherine would wake up and make breakfast for her children before dropping them to school. Then, she would go to the construction site and work until her shift ended. She would pick up heavy bricks on her shoulder to transport them from one part of the site to the other.
After going home every night, Catherine felt tired and never had enough energy to spend time with her kids. She only asked them about their progress in school on weekends.
On one such weekend, Catherine’s son, Peter, told her about an upcoming contest in school that required mothers to participate. In the competition, students will wear blindfolds and have to recognize their mothers without looking at them.
“That sounds like such a cool event, Peter!” Catherine exclaimed. “I can’t wait for it!”
“I won’t go there with you, mom,” Peter replied.
“What?” Catherine’s brows furrowed. “But why?”
What her son said next was something Catherine wasn’t prepared to hear. She had never imagined her son would say something like this to her.
“Mom, I would have to touch your hands to recognize you, and everyone would look at them,” Peter explained. “Your hands are so ugly. They’re so hard and rough,” he added.
Catherine looked down at her hands and rubbed them together. She could feel that her skin had really become hard after working at the construction site, but she couldn’t tell her son about it.
“I will feel so embarrassed when my classmates look at your hard hands,” the boy said. “I won’t attend the event.”
Peter regretted being rude to his mother the other day and understood why her hands weren’t soft and beautiful like other women.
Catherine felt her cheeks flush red after hearing her son’s excuse for not participating in the competition. She felt terrible but couldn’t say anything in her defense. She had to stay quiet and keep working on the construction site to make ends meet.
A few weeks later, Peter was walking home with his friends when something unexpected caught his attention. While his friends talked amongst themselves, he stopped and looked at his mother working at a construction site near their house.
Peter’s eyes widened as he saw his mother carry heavy bricks from one end of the site to the other. She wasn’t wearing gloves to protect her hands and had no machinery to help her. She was mixing cement with bare hands and even operated a drill.
The boy asked his friends to leave without him so that he could stay back. Peter regretted being rude to his mother the other day and understood why her hands weren’t soft and beautiful like other women. She couldn’t afford expensive manicures after work because she had to save money for her children.
What can we learn from this story?
Always respect your parents. Catherine’s son had no idea how far she could go for her children until he learned about her tiring job. Learning about her efforts made him realize he shouldn’t have disrespected his mother.
Never judge a book by its cover. Peter refused to go to the event with his mother because of her outward appearance. He valued her looks more than her unconditional love for her children and didn’t realize his mistake until he learned the truth.
Share this story with your friends and family. It might inspire them and brighten their day.