Sunday, November 04, 2018

Trimming Nails

Sometimes women ask silly questions such as "What's the part of your body you like the most?" And I usually answer that it's my hands. I like my hands. My mom used to say that I have piano hands––with long, slender fingers and a wide span. Or she'd say they were artist's hands––delicate and precise and capable of things that require very fine motor skills. Either way, I felt confident about my hands. It's an odd thing to like, really, but when you're a teenager and you are generally insecure about your body, you find the most random thing to like about yourself.

Anyway, I can only remember growing my fingernails out one time. Just one time! I was a senior in high school. Sometime in Spring semester, I grew my nails for as long as I could stand them––I think it was about three or four weeks––and then I painted them. I got so many compliments on my hands and nails (funny what people notice) that I thought, "I've got to do this more often!" But I never did. Because I hate having long nails. I hate it! Sometimes people ask me why, and my answer is that I'm a baker, so it's unsanitary to have long nails. While that's true, it's not the real answer. The real answer is that I think I was conditioned to like short nails.

When I was a little girl, my dad would trim my nails regularly. He'd call my sister and me into his room on Saturday evenings after we'd had our bath and finish the weekly ablutions with a nail trim. That was the final preparation for the Sabbath, I think. I remember he'd sit on the edge of his bed, and I'd stand next to him, putting one hand at a time on his knee. He trimmed just the right amount of nail off––short enough to be practical, but long enough to keep our fingernails from digging into the sensitive skin underneath. Then he'd hand me my little-girl pile of nails and tell me to throw them away and go brush my teeth.

Of all the memories to have, why does that one stand out? And when did I start trimming my own nails? And why did my dad like short fingernails on kids so much? These are all questions I think about maybe every time I trim my nails, which is way more often than once every three or four weeks. I suppose I associate a good nail trim with being clean. With being ready for the week. And somehow, it's a good feeling.


Thing I'm thankful for: crunchy leaves