My Mother's Hands This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine.

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Many things touch the heart – a snowflake in a storm, a leaf falling in autumn. My mother has touched my heart. In her eyes, I see her undying ardor to learn and in her hands, her struggle to raise her family. I admire her spirit and the power of her hands.

I can imagine her as a little girl with long, black hair in a ponytail, walking to school along the grassy sidewalks of China. She carries a school bag her grandmother sewed for her and her shoes have a brown stain that sets her apart from her classmates. She drags her feet through the muddy streets, occasionally looking up at the sun for comfort; she has not had breakfast. I hear coins jingling in her coat pocket; she’s finally saved a month’s worth of lunch money for school tuition. Today, she will have to start saving again for next semester.

Sometimes I wake up in the middle of the night and see light coming from the bathroom. My mother struggles to read the two-week-old newspaper, eyelids drooping and hands relaxing. But, somehow she manages to keep reading, absorbing knowledge.

I can feel the contour of my mother’s fingers when I think of her. The tips are cracked from constantly washing white rice and green vegetables. Scrubbing clothes has added years of texture. Her job as a seamstress has made her fingers stiff, yet she goes to the factory, day after day, and sews. On rainy days, she asks me to wash the rice for her, saying she has to do something else. But I know better – her hands ache on rainy days.

I look at my mother and see her white hair and the eyes that looked to the sun for relief from hunger. The worn-out hands continue to scrub and wash; her fine skin is aging by the minute. Although some see my mother as a woman with bad eyesight, rough, man-like hands and little education, I see her as an exceptional person with qualities I hope one day to have.

This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.






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