My Hands September 26, 2010
I’ve never seen a picture of my hands before. There’s so much you can tell about a person’s hands. For example, you can tell if the person does manual labor or not. A farmer’s hands will not look the same as the hands of a secretary. No two hands are alike, yet they are all great and can do many things.
My students look at my hands and always comment on its size. Some even compare it to their own hands. I had one student who became really excited when he realized that my hand was smaller than his.
My hands are not particularly pretty. I have never been into manicures or acrylic nails. I’ve only used them for my wedding and hated it. You can’t do anything with those nails. I see many women with long acrylic nails and wonder how they do their chores.
I remember a time in which I particularly hated my hands. I was taking piano lessons, and the piano teacher commented that my hands were not cut out to play the piano. I quit the lessons a few days later. That was be the last time I allowed anyone to tell me what I can or can’t do with my own hands. My hands may be small, a little chubby looking, but they can accomplish many things that no other hands can.
Thirty-two years ago two teenagers decided to spice things up and as a result I was born. It was tough being the first-born of two immature kids. To cut the mustard, I had to mature quite fast and become a tough cookie.
My parents worked during the day and studied at night which led me to do many things on my own making me one smart cookie, or so I thought. From an early age, I had to take care of my laundry, clean my room, do my school work, etc. You name it I did it, except cooking. I remember one afternoon, coming back from school. I was so hungry and desperately wanted a pizza. Instead of cooking the pizza in the microwave, as my mom had instructed on several occasions, I thought it was a piece of cake, and decided to bake the pizza in the oven. That was the worst idea ever. Not only did I burn the pizza, but I almost burned down the house in the process. To make things worse, I was forbidden to use the oven or do any kind of cooking related activity. From then on, I had to live off cereal, canned food, and sandwiches which became my daily bread, literally.
Just because I was a failure in the kitchen doesn’t mean that I had no talents. I always had big plans for my life. They just didn’t include any cooking. I wanted to be a singer, lawyer, business woman, athlete, and many other things I don’t even remember anymore. I was aware that if I wanted to be the big cheese I had to wake up and smell the coffee. And so began my quest to become the cream of the crop. In school, I was always at the top of the class, participated in different sports, clubs, and student organizations such as the National Honor Society, School Choir, Student Council, Volleyball Team, Drama Club, and Science Club. I also participated in the Debate Team, Spelling Bee and Forensics. In a nutshell, I did it all. I remember my grandmother’s advice about it. She said, “ Janny, you’re taking on too many things at the same time. Don’t bite more than you can chew, sweetheart.” But of course, like any other teenager, I chose to ignore her.
I graduated from school and went to the University of Puerto Rico. During my first year of college, my father was having trouble on his job, and decided to move my entire family to Florida because he had to bring home the bacon and couldn’t find a decent paying job here. To say the idea was not my cup of tea, was an understatement. I refused to move with them and to rub salt in the wound was left with no other choice than to move with my grandmother until I could find a job that would allow me to study and have my own place.
Living with my grandmother turned out to be a recipe for disaster. She was extremely bossy, and I hated to be bossed around. The combination was lethal. We fought like cats and dogs, and sooner than planned, I moved out.
I graduated from college and married at the age of twenty-three. I am married to an incredible man who still makes my knees turn to jelly. We had an incredible wedding and the whole enchiladas. Our first apartment was so tiny that we were packed like sardines, but somehow managed to survive it. I still cherish the experiences we had there.
I was not born with a silver spoon in my mouth, but somehow managed to accomplish many things. I can say that I have a wonderful teaching career, a weird and amazing family, great friends, and yes, a much bigger house. As Forrest Gump’s momma always said, “Life was like a box of chocolates,” I think I handled my chocolates quite successfully.
This is the link to the short story: