My mother told me that she had to learn how to cook after she married because her mother had not taught her; she had been shooed from the kitchen. Surprisingly, as a child, my grandmother, Alice, let me help her make the best fried cakes (Dunkin Donuts can’t compare) sizzling in bacon grease. My mouth has begun to water despite Grammy Alice being passed on forty years. Helping my mother peel potatoes or apples was one of my first cooking duties although it was not until I was an older teenager. Yet, I remember maybe being 12 when she asked me to check the peach pie in the oven; when I tried to take it out the hot pie spilled onto the floor. I am amazed (and grateful) that mom did not get mad at me as she was critical of me in many other ways. No skin off my back, and no skin on the potatoes, peaches or apples. While raising my children, nutrition no longer took off her skin. I scrubbed the potatoes, adding butter to the still dressed mashed potatoes. After my daughters left home I added fresh garlic to the mashing. Strong spicy garlic turned bland potatoes into a real treat that pricked the tongue while risking alienation when smelling garlic-breath, which I happen to like. I wonder if someday there will be creams of garlic applied to our skin for beauty’s sake like cucumbers or teabags now applied to the eyes. Massage therapists use an array of oils to stretch, soothe and relax our strained anxious muscles by pressing our most essential skin that holds us together. During my fourth marriage, my emotional skin tore like a thread pulling a sweater apart. I became very angry and sad and fearful when Gregory would not trust me with accusations of having affairs. I stomped like a toddler: my broken-open-hurt-heart sobbing, which caused the skin around my eyes to swell, becoming like cream puffs. (I wish.) In the beginning my eyes hurt, not just my heart, but as I connected my tears to old childhood memories, I gradually welcomed them like a warm spring rain. Eventually tears even washed away my anger at my mother. Twenty years later, I love my tears which visit a few times a week. I smiled big when seeing the placard in the movie, The Artist, reading TEARS OF LOVE. I had never read those words before, except in my journal; only seen ‘tears of joy’ written. Just last week, a woman who has seen me dance many times told me that I look 45. When I told her I am 66, her husband said, “Bullshit!” Because when I cry, I do not wipe away my tears but smooth them into my skin with a smile on my face.