Monday, April 13, 2015

Putting My Face On

Yesterday, Savana and I went for a 3 mile walk down Holcombe Cove Road. We have a route that we take that goes up the road and back again, loops around the maintenance building and then the retirement center, and then, finally, back onto campus, winding up the hill and down again, and ending at 2.87 miles in front of our house. We take it at a fast clip so that we average a 15 minute mile, making my legs burn and causing me to huff and puff a bit, while Savana talks with ease...the entire way. So needless to say, by the time I am back in the house and have gulped down a tall glass of cool water, I am red hot and desperate for a shower.

Anyway, last night Roy and I planned a night out on the town so we could go see The Longest Ride, the latest Nicholas Sparks movie. Savana was kind enough to stay home with Jace and so after I showered, I did a quick comb through my hair, shook it a bit with my head upside down, and headed out.

So that may mean absolutely nothing to most people. But for me? Well, for me, that's a first. I have never gone out on a date with no makeup and my hair wet. Never.

And if I posted a picture, you'd know why.

The movie was great. I sat cuddled up to Roy, holding his hand, my leg over his, the entire time because, of course, this was a chick flick, a romantic sort of movie with a good ending that makes one happy to be part of this life we live. And, I knew it would make me feel that way before I went in to watch it or I wouldn't have gone. Nicholas Sparks isn't always dependable to create a happy ending, but I had read this particular book, so I knew.

Anyway, once the movie was over, we headed straight home and, as it was about 10:00 when we arrived, the house was completely dark. I peeked in on Jace who was still awake and smiled at me through sleepy eyes. Hi Mom. I'm so tired...And then I headed upstairs to do the whole nightly routine thing and go to bed. You know, the whole put toothpaste on my toothbrush, run it under the faucet, start to brush my teeth, look in the mirror as it is one of those two-minute brushes that seems endless in the moment, and ...well, that's when it happened. As I looked in the mirror, I stopped. Like whoa. Who is that???

Because the girl looking back at me? That wasn't me. That wasn't the normal me that I was used to seeing. Who is she?

Who am I??

Because, you see, in front of me was my face, completely make-up free, and my hair--long and utterly curl-free with no bounce, no body: just straight fine hair with no style.

Yeah. I went out in public like that.

I grew up in an era where we didn't leave the house "without our face on." We styled our hair. Always. Today's girls? I admire their ability to simply not worry about it--throw their hair up in ponytails and wear their pajamas to the grocery store, if they so choose. They're utterly free. I have never managed to embrace that attitude on a personal level. Last night was a first for me.

Darian came home this weekend. She rode home on Thursday evening with a friend so that she could catch us unawares and spend three glorious days within our walls. We planned to go to Southern this weekend and surprise her, but she beat us to it. And that was a beautiful thing. We laughed and cooked and ate and played games and talked and talked and talked some more. In fact, we stayed up until 1:00 Friday night talking about nothing in particular and yet, everything. My nephew Jared drove in Friday evening and so it was the three of us in the living room--chatting it up as though we had all the time in the world.

But of course, as it always does, time passed much too quickly and suddenly, just like that, she was gone--just as fast as she came.

This morning when I came down the stairs at 5:00, the house black as midnight, I noted the laundry basket in front of the washer, packed full of clean clothes. And then I remembered--another clean load was still in the dryer. And so, I opened up the dryer door and pulled all of the clean clothes out, crammed them on top of the other load of clean clothes that were in the basket, and hauled them down the hall so they would be beyond the eyes of Roy. I don't normally do that--I promise--but Sunday got away from me and I didn't manage to get everything finished that was on my list. You know...movies in theaters and dates with the husband got in the way. And Roy? Well, Roy never learned the art of procrastination.

Weird, I know.

But if he saw those clean clothes hanging around, he'd feel obligated to fold them, put them away. And, as Thursdays are his laundry day, and Sundays are mine...well,  I just didn't want that happening...and so? I chose the the next best option: hiding them.

And what better place to hide them than Darian's room. I opened her door oh so carefully and peeked inside. And there it was: her pristine room, the bed perfectly made, the pillows carefully stacked on her bed just so, captured photos of carefree moments lining the Darian. I just stood there, looked around for a moment, felt the sadness sweep over me like a wave washes over the sands of the beach--gradually at first, then swooping in for its grand entrance, one wave catapulting on top of the other...and then? back out to sea, leaving only wet footprints in its wake.

That's the real me--the me with no make-up, with fine blonde hair that hangs limply...the me that is learning how to let go. The me that is learning how to figure out what life looks like when the first title isn't Mom anymore. The me that is caught in the crossfires of learning a new identity.

This evening Savana interviewed me for an assignment for one of her classes. We talked about my life, starting from birth and all the way to where I am today--a solid hour of discussion about me. She said, "So tell me about the years between ages 26 to 35."

I laughed. "Those were the Mom years--the years when I was in the thick of it all. You girls were so young then..."

"So did you like being a mom?" she asked. And the question was so sincere--not a beg for a compliment: Please tell me how very very much you enjoyed raising me--but rather one of curiosity: Tell me how you really felt about being a mom when you were in your late 20's and early 30's...

I stopped for just a moment, remembering. I pictured myself in the kitchen, my arms up to my elbows in dishwater while the girls sat at the table doing homework. I remembered Pathfinders and camping trips and little girl giggles and dress up and countless other memories that whizzed by my mind in that small space of time.

"Oh yes," I said. "Oh how I've loved being a mom."

Of course, I'm still a mom. Jace is only 12, for pity's sake. But I feel my time waning, my life shifting.

Sometimes I put on a strong face. I force a smile, plaster that facade for all the world to see that says Of course I'm fine!

But the real me? The who am I me? Well, sometimes it's better to throw on the make-up, blow dry my hair and plaster it with hairspray. Because...well, at least that way I look my best.


  1. first of all, I have seen you makeupless and you look great. But this was such a sweet and authentic blog. Loved the peek inside your warm home!

  2. I cannot take this crying! Ugh! I hate this letting go.....

  3. Oh my goodness. This is so sweet. I'm touched that you think a pristine room is "so me." :) I love you so much. And I think you have a beautiful face, make-up or not. Also I love how you are so authentic in your blogs. My word you can write.

  4. And just like you love being a mom, I love being your kid.


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