I was petting my cat tonight with a glass of red wine in my left hand. I watched my right hand as it gently stroked her head. Suddenly it was my grandmother’s hand that I saw. The color, the shape – worn yet gentle. She loved cats too. Her heart was wide with compassion, as I strive to be. She would not have had a glass of wine because her religious convictions did not allow for such indulgences. But my mother, whose hands I can also see when I look at my own, has spent many hours stroking a beloved cat and caressing a glass of wine. I can see back through time by looking at my hand. I can see women of heart and of worth.
But then it turns back into my own hand, and then it is not so easy to see those same qualities. Instead I remember how much I hated my hands as a girl. I never thought they were slender or beautiful enough. It wasn’t just my hands, but for some reason I felt especially self-conscious of them. But then as a teen I had my first love. One night with his arms wrapped around me he remarked how much he loved my hands. My brow furrowed as I tried to imagine how that could be true. Seeing them through his eyes gave me the possibility of knowing my own beauty.