Good Golly Miss... ✎

Molly Lilly

Molly Lilly
New York, New York, USA
July 04
Words fail me.


NOVEMBER 23, 2009 2:13PM

Crooked Pinky

Rate: 23 Flag


My hands are like my mom's. It bothers me. I like it. Kinda bittersweet. She had small elfish hands with crooked pinky fingers. So do I. They show my age, actually they look older.

The freckles on my face give me a youthful look. Most guess mid twenties. I'm in my thirties. But the freckles on my hands look like age spots. I guess I'm at that age when it starst to matter to me. The four or five or ten silver hairs that spiral out of my head catch my eye in the bathroom mirror. I imagine long silver and white flowing hair and smile. Fairy like. I buy a box of red dye and it sits in  the bathroom drawer.

My mom's hands were a bit more claw like. She had longer thicker nails, always painted green or blue or burgendy. My hands are a bit broader, a touch of my father. My nails are longer now. I bit them for twenty years. Once in a while I bite them off again. A stress thing, anxiety over work, friends, myself.

From the wrist up, my mom and I shared a love for ink. One of my arms is inked with dragonflies and water lillies from the wrist to collar bone. Both my mom's arms had flowers and butterflies, as did much of her body.

But underneath, I am just me. freckles, smooth skin, peach fuzz. I like these images, though superficial, they are my design, a silly totem. My arm a pretty canvas.

Underneath my mom's tattoos are scars. Some superficial, those cries for help. Others deep, too deep, a desire for an end. From wrist to arm to neck to breast to inner thigh, and down her legs. Ink and scars.

I have no scars, I never cut.

One summer visit when I was 13, she gave me my first tattoo. A silly little symbol on the small of my back. No bigger than a nickle. She said it meant a mother's love. That same visit, I gave her one. A slighlty different symbol, meaning a daughter's heart. I think she made them up.

There was a section on both her arms that was super soft, had the prettiest tattoos. I liked to touch it when I was younger, even though it was weird. If it had not been me, I think she would have flinched at the touch. But she always let me love her. That was her gift.

I learned later that weird softer section was a skin graph. She had cut to deep, cut some off. Had to have it grafted from her thigh.

The last time I held her hand I was in my early twenties. It was about 6 months before she took her own life. Pills, not cutting. I compared our pinky fingers, the crooked way they both bent in toward our ring fingers. The pretty flowers on both our arms.

"You are my heart" she said.

She always held my hand so firmly, but it did not hurt. It was comforting. Warm, the way a mother's touch is supposed to be. I hugged her goodbye. It was different that time. There was a peace between us. I remember wanting more tattoos. I drew them on the plane. But what I remember now is our crooked pinky fingers and that I let go first.

Author tags:

goodbye, daughter, mom

Your tags:


Enter the amount, and click "Tip" to submit!
Recipient's email address:
Personal message (optional):

Your email address:


Type your comment below:
So beautifully written. Thank you for this. The idea that you are you under the ink--lovely. A really breathtaking post.
o Molly. I will comment later.
You take us on a journey and we don't know where we're going until we get to the end. Well done.
Breathtaking...made me think of my relationship with my mother and that our hands are alike...different story but bittersweet sad too...
But what I remember now is our crooked pinky fingers and that I let go first.

Funny how, once we feel all grown up, we let go first. Funny also how that is something that sticks with us. For better or worse, we have to fly when it's time. That's when we learn which of us will soar.

She would be proud to know you're soaring, I'm sure.

Thank you, hard to write, I stopped crying around the third edit. It's hard to sum her and I up in one post. But thank you for reading.
Thank you, hard to write, I stopped crying around the third edit. It's hard to sum her and I up in one post. But thank you for reading.
Your writing is breathtaking. Just like your father's. WOW.
Molly, you are writing about some very hard things to recall. And the recollection tells both of the love and of the pain. Your writing is breathtaking in its imagery and clarity.

I am glad that you feel strong enough to be writing about your mother, your love for her, her love for you, her strengths and weaknesses.

I come from a generation (I'm 70) and background where men were not to say much about anything, and certainly nothing about their parents and how they related to them.

I remember when I first decided to write about mine and how afraid I was to be honest, but then decided that I had to in order to be true to myself. I did a series about how she met my stepdad toward the end of WWII and how that love blossomed. It was very hard to write that with the honesty I knew had to; and to include her faults, which were many. But, in the end, I felt a burden lifting and have since written several more pieces about that love/hate relationship that we had.

Every story, like every person, is unique and worthy of being told. Thank you for beginning to reveal yours in such an honest and remarkably well written way.

Wow! All I can come up with are cliches of apples not falling far from trees--

So I'll leave it at Wow!
Molly, you have written a brave piece. It is also coherent and restrained, given the details, and full of love. I am proud of you for writing this so well, the artistry of the holding hands idea becoming resonant with meaning at the end. And I am proud of you for getting where you are today, to be able to write with such compassion and unflinching directness.

She would be proud of you too, te amo, mi kindelech.
Frank ~ Yes, we are all just us, under the ink, the clothes, the stuff. Behind the scars, the pain, the troubles, we are those moments, of love and forgiveness. Thank you.

Walk Away ~ My mother had hidden grace, I am glad to have inherited that from her as well.

OEsheepdog ~ I was not sure where this piece would take me. Did not plan on reveling so much. I am glad I did, glad to be returned with compassion and encouragement.

Leonde ~ the sweet is what I hold on to. Thank you.

Bill ~ Yes, I let go first, literally. At times I regretted it. Now, years later, I have finally grown up.

O'Really ~ THANK YOU.

Rutilus ~ Grand, wow, hope I can keep it up.

Monte ~ I guess I am very lucky. Not only in the generation I come from, but to have parents who encourage expression, communication, and honesty. Thank you for the encouragement.

Chicago Guy ~ Now all I have are cliches about being my own new sprouting tree, etc. But thank you.

Will Someone Feed The Cat? ~ thanks, more than thanks.

Greg / Papa ~ You Rock! I love you! I am glad I can write these things, here among your peers, and you understand.
Beautiful, moving and heartbreaking. Thank you for sharing. R
jimmymac1025 ~ thank you :)

rita shibr ~ the heartbreak is over and mended. sharing helps.
I'm frequently late, and am late here too . . . thankfully not to late to read this and savor its richness. The weaving of images and emotions is exquisite, says so much, even in a small space. Just . . . wow.
Breathtakingly beautiful.
Really wonderful, especially that last line. It says so much more than it says.
the art reminds me of a child -- (it shows great talent, but it is very youthful) the words reveal a woman. All the love it takes to understand our mothers . . . well, you've written it very well.
Stunned.. touched... oh my. This is full of love and ink. R.
Owl_Says_Who ~ it's never to late. It's easy to write from the heart. Thank you.

marcelleqb ~ I held my breath as I wrote this :)

M.Mckenzie ~ When I have nothing to say, I say to much. I'm glad this conveys the love.

skeletnwmn ~ the art was originally intended for something else, but was done recently in a time of carefree and fun. I'm happy you see the balance of the two. Thank you.

C.K. Dexter Haven ~ I have nothing but love for my mother now. I am relieved that this conveys that. Thanks.
This is an absolutely beautiful piece. The vibrant colors and loving artistry in your words clearly reside in that place far beneath the skin where treasures and tributes are stored. Thank you for sharing these cherished feelings and memories with us.

Rated and appreciated.
How incredibly touching...what a beautiful tribute to your mother. I could tell that she loved you very much.

I understand the connection one has with getting either the same tattoo as someone else or getting one at the same time. It's a vivid and permanent reminder of your love for someone.

Thank you so much for sharing.
I'm so sorry for your loss.

This is a beautifully written piece.
My throat is welled up right now, speechless with the delicate power of your love, loss, relationship that is so impossible to convey, yet you did through the poetry here. What a testimony to your heart, Molly, to be able to paint this picture of your mother through what you shared with her in this way.