Welcome to Wide Open Wednesday! This – and every – Wednesday, I will write about something that is interesting to me outside the kitchen. I may share an article, a quote, a question, an experience, a highlight, a low moment or whatever else inspires me to put fingers-to-keyboard. It’s pretty much wide open.
* * *
When I was a little girl and my grandmother would visit from Washington DC, she would invite me into her room to “put on a little makeup.” Looking back on it, I’m pretty sure that she just used a few clean brushes and tickled my face while declaring I was lovely.
I don’t even think I ever checked in the mirror afterwards to see if I looked any fancier. The results were unimportant compared to how I felt getting to spend one-on-one time with grandma.
As a young girl, I admired her lovingly — her easy smile, her warm voice, her slightly perfumed smell. I also remember being fascinated by her long, elegant fingers decorated with a delicate pattern of bones and veins visible beneath her skin. I thought the lace-like pattern made them more beautiful than average hands.
When I look down at my own hands now, it’s clear that those hands I loved were passed down from my grandmother to my mother to me. I didn’t do them any beauty favors with my laissez-faire attitude towards protecting them from sun and dryness.
People often tell me I look younger than my age. (I am not sure if that’s true. I mean, honestly, does anyone say, “Yup, that’s what I thought!” when a woman tells you she is over 40? Not anyone smart.)
But even if I do appear younger than my years, I know that my hands show that I am older. They, like my grandmother’s and my mother’s, are thin and bony. The veins in my hands are prominent and the skin is starting to wrinkle. Fortunately, I still find this sort of beautiful. I think it’s because my hands remind me of women I love and admire. My fingers and palms are like a visible symbol of the goodness, kindness and honesty of the women who came before me.
Just to be clear — my appreciation for lines and wrinkles does not extend to how I feel about my face. Oh, no. I do not feel sentimental about the new crevices that appear by my eyes or, just lately, around my mouth. I fully plan to embrace creams, potions, lotions, pokings, prickings and whatever else might help maintain a smooth, youthful glow.
Beauty magazines tell me I should be worried my hands. I should act quickly to coat them with lotions to further avoid wrinkles. I have read articles suggesting I consider lasers and fat injections (yes, truly) to plump up and smooth out my hands. I am unswayed.
I feel fondness towards my hands. They show the hours spent in the sun while running, the effort exerted while wrapping them around barbells, the countless times I have washed them while cooking and not followed up with moisturizer. And they remind me of my grandmother, as she sweetly dusted my young face with imaginary makeup.