Polish Thumbs

By Amy Frakowski-Giesecke • January 25, 2018

Growing up, I always subconsciously and self-consciously hid my thumbs in my fists because of their weird shape. Admittedly, they do look more like a big toe instead of a thumb and from an early age, my thumbs earned the nickname "toe thumbs." Then, while I was in high school, I worked as a cashier in a grocery store. One day, I was checking out a sweet little old lady and as I counted her change back to her, she suddenly grabbed my hands and said in a thick Polish accent, "You are Polish! Look at those beautiful Polish thumbs! They match mine!" She raised her hands and showed me her thumbs that although weathered and wrinkled, looked exactly like mine! She grabbed and held my hands again and said, "Be proud of those thumbs and the history of your heritage that comes with them!"

I’ll never forget that 30 second conversation with a stranger that forever changed my view of a part of me I once was embarrassed by and now embrace. Tonight, as I sat with my Samuel, while we were eating dinner together, he looked down at my hand resting on the table next to his and said, "Mommy! Our thumbs match!" I smiled and answered, "Yes they do, buddy! Those are strong Polish thumbs you have! Be proud of them! Maybe some day you’ll have a little boy or girl who will have the same thumbs to match yours and mine too!" I no longer hide my thumbs in my fists and I love that my child will carry on a piece of our heritage that if not for a sweet little old Polish lady, I would’ve continued to try to hide. I pray my son never hides his thumbs like I did. I hope he’ll be proud of their "weirdness" and the history behind them. He carries on a unique part of me (and all the generations before me) and that for me will always be beautiful!


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