On the ring finger of my right hand, you will always find a gold ring with the number "15" protruding on it; an oval shape with a lace-design outline.
I have been wearing this ring every day for the past five, almost six, years. I only sleep and shower without it.
It is what I consider the second most important gift for my quince años, my 15th birthday - the most important gift being the celebration itself. A quince is the traditional celebration of a girl's 15th birthday in many countries of Latin America.
It is a rite of passage into womanhood. The quinceañera is the girl celebrating her birthday.
My ring was gifted to me by my aunt. It may seem like a small gift or a small thing to be so appreciative of, but there are many factors that tie me back to this ring. The ring has become a part of everyday life, meaning I don't look at it in awe or smile every time I put it on.
But, one of these days when there's nothing to do, I was just in bed looking at the ceiling and then I looked at my ring.
It brought memories flooding back.
My first thought was about my quince party. I don't come from much money and had been saving for this birthday for about 10 years. The first expense was the ballgown to wear.
Then came the second dress. Then came my mom's, dad's, and brother's outfits. Then it was renting the venue; buying the food; renting the party supplies like tables, chairs, cloths; buying the three-layer cake; buying the silk gloves; buying the tiara; buying the heels; the photographs; and the list goes on.
Not to reveal too much, the celebration cost a few thousand dollars altogether.
That may seem very expensive for a birthday, which I understand, but it's a traditional celebration that I had been waiting for my whole life and that's what makes me eternally grateful.
My family members and family friends contributed a little part of the party to me as a gift; for example, a family friend contributed some food while my aunt paid for the cake.
This is why I wasn't expecting more from my family.
I opened my gifts the next day and I was shocked to see a ring. I first thought that it was beautiful but that it must be fake. My mom showed me that it was real and I knew that it would be a symbol of my quince for the rest of my life. Since my family doesn't have much money, most of my jewelry is fantasy.
My 15th birthday was a long, fun, and beautiful night that I thank God and my family for. There are plenty of people who know what the "15" on my ring means when they see it, but there are also plenty who don't.
Any time that someone asks me why there's a 15 on my ring, I smile and get butterflies.
I'm always so happy to explain what it means and why it means so much to me.