Wednesday, March 8, 2017

Cleanser, Creams and Collagen, Oh My!

Hi there. Remember me? I would have written sooner except that the Funkapotomus has had me pinned to the floor for a few months and I didn't see any reason to share him with you. I've also been busy writing a play, tentatively titled "The Odds Couple," but more on that at a later date. I've pulled myself out of seclusion today to share an important public service announcement for women of a certain (middle) age. If you're a younger woman, remember this lesson for the future, which will be here before you know it. If you're 60-plus, well, it's probably too late for you. (The truth hurts.) And if you're not a woman at all, but know a woman of a certain (middle) age, please pass this along.

What I have to say could determine whether anyone will ever want to look at you again.

It all started Monday evening with the Mary Kay catalog. I ordered my two favorite colors of eyeliner and concealer, but I stopped short of adding the timewise facial cleanser, which cost an exorbitant $20. I figured Dove soap could do the job just as well. Looking back, this was clearly a sign of things to come.

Tuesday evening I had scheduled a facial. For me to get a facial, the stars have to align, or, there has to be 1) a special, discounted price; 2) a free gift; or 3) a gift card to pay for it. In this case, all three were in order so I lay myself down on the massage table and waited for the technician to make me beautiful. But first, she had a question for me:
Her: Would you like the collagen cream or the eye cream as your free gift?
Me: What do you recommend?
Her: What do you have at home?
Me: Nothing.
Her: Nothing???
She reacted as if I had said I never brush my teeth.
Her: Why not?
Me: I've never believed that stuff actually works and it's expensive and I'm cheap.
Her: There have been white papers and research that shows it makes a difference and there's some good eye cream that's not expensive. It's like $40.
Well, that's $30 more than I want to spend for eye cream.
Her: Have you had other preventative maintenance treatments besides regular facials?
Me:  Nope. 
Her: Why not?
Me: I didn't know I was supposed to.
Here's the thing, my mom didn't do/use this stuff. If she shaved her legs it was a good day week. She didn't use moisturizer much less eye cream, masks, peels, and collagen. Other than lipstick she didn't wear any makeup. As far as I know she never waxed or got facials or microderm abrasion, or massages. And she was beautiful to me! So where was I supposed to learn I'm supposed to have all these expensive creams and ointments and makeup and procedures and treatments?

After revealing myself as an uninformed amateur, my technician proceeded to give me a "custom" (as in,
make-it-up-as-she-goes) facial. For all I know she was using mayonnaise, shaving cream, and olive oil. She certainly knew that I wouldn't guess the difference. She also rightly assumed that I wouldn't purchase any of the "stuff" she recommended the last time I got a facial (more than a year ago), so she didn't bother suggesting anything on this occasion. She basically finished the job and said, "You're done. Move on out so I can work on someone who gives a damn." Ah well. It was nice while it lasted.

I do have a question about facials, however. I don't understand why they apply a bunch of creams--with a gentle, circular motion, which feels delightful--but then immediately wipe it off with a hot towel (which is my favorite part). If they're going to wipe it off, why'd they put it on in the first place? And they repeat this process at least three times. I find it very confusing. Frankly, I think it's probably a bunch of hooey, and I could probably pay Abby to dim the lights, warm some towels, and massage my cheeks and temples to achieve the same results.

But speaking of Abby, I will be sure to impress upon her the need to control the aging process as soon as she turns 18. It's never to early to stop time in its tracks.

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

Be Careful What You Wish for

I don't believe God is in the business of paybacks or getting even so I'm not sure who to blame for my current state of heartbreak. Maybe there's no one to blame but myself. For years I wanted nothing more than for my kids to grow up, to need me less, to give me back my freedom. I fantasized about having my own apartment to get away from the demands of parenthood. Unlike most moms I didn't cry when they went to kindergarten, though in retrospect the happy dance at the bus stop may have been a bit much. The point is, I didn't enjoy being a mom in those early years; I wanted them to end. And in the blink of an eye, that's exactly what happened. Now, when at last I’m in love with being a mom, my job is nearly done.

Last night Ian left for Singapore and I'm pretty sure my heart went with him. I'm not exaggerating when I say that I've never felt like this. There’s an ache that I'm afraid won't go away for the 120 days that he's gone. I may stop bothering with makeup for the next four months because the tears make it pointless.

I think it’s worse because I know he’s so far away. If he was going to California for four months I might be okay. Even Europe feels bearable. But knowing he’s a half a world away is causing me physical pain. What if he’s lonely or homesick? What if he changes his mind about this whole thing?

I know what you’re going to tell me. It’s going to go quickly. He’s going to have such an amazing experience. You’re being selfish. And I know all of that is true.

I think there’s an underlying explanation for the depth of my hurt and that is the realization that this is only the beginning of losing him (with Abby soon to follow).  Each and every day he grows more mature, more independent (just like I always wanted him to be…practically since the day he was born) and more likely to choose a life somewhere far away from me.

Insert Cat’s in the Cradle song here:

Even though I have a pretty full life of my own, I prefer a life with my kids in it. A life where we continue with family game night and dining out to avoid my cooking. A life where we all yell at Lily to stop barking and stealing food. A life where Ian and Brooke snuggle on the couch and Abby bitches about something or someone at school.

I now fully understand how my parents have felt for years, wanting nothing more than for their girls to be home. I understand how hard it is for them to say goodbye to Dawn when she returns to Colorado from her biannual visits to PA. And she’s not even their favorite.

But I also know what it’s like to be the child who’s hurting them by not being around enough. It’s not a lack of love or appreciation that keeps me from seeing my mom and dad more, it’s life. I have one that’s filled with work, family, friends and activities. And thinking about that puts the pain of missing Ian in some perspective for me. He’s doing what he has to do. He’s experiencing all that the world has to offer. He's living! His being gone has nothing to do with me, other than that I have given him the wings to fly.

If he can do this, I can do this.

Still, a few of your prayers wouldn't hurt...