1.Lawrence Welk conducts a waltz on the television as I sit next to my grandma, my hand in hers. Her skin feels like tissue, and she smells of Chantilly Lace. I lean my head on her shoulder and she squeezes my hand.
2. My Nana's long, red nails pick up the warm tortilla and flip it so it cooks on the other side. "This first one is for you, mi hijita," she says as her brown fingers reach for the butter knife to spread margarine on my warm treat.
3. The strong, young hands of my mother rub Ben-Gay into my weary legs. Growing pains plaque me, and I often wake late at night calling for her to ease my pain. She comes, no hesitation, to soothe me, rub my legs, stroke my hair. She is my savior, my hero. "Don't leave, don't leave, " I plead.
4. I stand in the jewelry store with my fiancé as they measure my ring size. I notice my nails are shaggy, short, and rough. My hands are calloused and dry. But once the ring that had belonged to my mother is on my finger my hands grow lovely. The diamond sparkles as I turn my hand back and forth under the fluorescent light.
5. They are the first things I look at as they give her to me after birth: her hands. They are so small, dimpled, perfect. I am struck by how delicate they are when suddenly she grips my finger with a strength that shocks me. I am breathless with the joy of it all.