Friday, May 27, 2011

Why do Moms Matter? One Word: Mascara

When I was going into middle school, we moved from Minnesota to Tucson, Arizona. I wasn't all that broken up about the move. I wasn't overly popular, I was constantly teased, or sometimes worse, ignored. While I had a core group of friends I would miss, I was a little more focused on how I could be DIFFERENT. Plus this was around the time of 90210 (Lord, I'm dating myself here) and they moved from Minnesota to Beverly Hills, so it was almost the same (actually it kind of was because the area we moved to was quite well to do).

Like one of those 80s transformation movies, I cut my hair and got contacts. I had my braces off a few years before, but the picture was...well, an improvement.

I was fortunate to be taken under the wing of a sweet girl named Tracy who then introduced me to her friends and within a few months I had a GROUP of friends. A real group of girls who went to boy/girl parties and had sleepovers and went to the mall to hang out.

One such boy/girl party had me the subject of much scrutiny with this group of friends. See, they almost all wore makeup and were slightly distressed that I didn't. I honestly hadn't really brought this subject up with my mother, so I didn't know where she stood on makeup. I had a general idea it wasn't going to be a hit. Sure, I'd stolen a few red or coral lipsticks discarded from her freebies at the mall makeup counter (sorry, Mom), but I'd never actually SEEN her put on makeup, nor did I have a clue what it involved.

That night I acquiesced to my group of friends and found out it involved A LOT! Like three people and a lot of blotting and closing my eyes and fearing for my contacts and the inevitable mascara wand stabbing that would occur.

But the result when all the fuss was over? I felt beautiful. I felt AMAZING. I felt a part of things, finally in these girls' league. Like Cinderella watching the clock on the wall dreading midnight, I dreaded the next day when I had to go back to ME. The me without the glass slipper of foundation and eyeshadow.

So I was in the car the next morning with my mom and I casually broached the subject. These girls had allowed me into their group, had experimented on me, and the boys that came over were quite responsive (I'm sure I downplayed that part).

My mom shocked me and said "if you want to wear makeup, you have to do it right."

WHAT? If I want to wear makeup? As if...had I had that choice the whole time?

My mom made an executive decision and got us an appointment at Merle Norman. I don't know if those even exist anymore. It certainly wasn't your average MAC or Sephora counter. It was definitely geared toward a...more mature crowd. But to me it was like the Disney World of hotness. This.Would.Change.My.LIFE! Of this I was sure.

And you know what? It kind of did. The woman showed me how to blend makeup to make sure there were no makeup lines (something I thank her for to this day when I see chicks with a huge orange ring around their face), how to apply mascara properly, and how to care for my brushes and skin.

You guys? Going home with that little bag of makeup was one of the happiest days of my life. I still look back on it as part of that overall transformation to a place where my ethnicity wasn't scrutinized, where people could actually pronounce my Puerto Rican last name, and where I felt beautiful.

And I still think this may have been one of the most beautiful gifts my mother has ever given me. So on this her birthday, I want to thank her for the gift of confidence and belonging that had long been missing in my life. There were so many other ways that day could have gone, but she looked into my eyes and realized what this meant to me and did what only the best mothers do: whatever it took to make her daughter happy.

I will carry this with me when my daughter comes to me with a similar know, in 20 years.


Amanda @ It's Blogworthy said...

Oh, I just love this post!! I too remember the first time my Mom bought makeup for me. It was blush, powder and mascara. That started my love affair with makeup (I'm obsessed). I love that she empowered you to get the makeup. And mearle norman...lord...I used to get stuff from there too. don't people see the orange makeup ring? I mean really.

Life As Wife said...

Haha this made me laugh. Merle Norman's do still exist. I love they makeup because it's so clean and covers everything! Yes, it's usually older ladies but I just grab my makeup and go! Haha

Rach (DonutsMama) said...

Girl we must be twins.
1. I moved right before middle school from Minnesota to Oklahoma
2. I friended a girl named Tracy and we are still friends all these years later.
3. I never wore make-up either until my friends helped me.
4. My mom took me to Dillard's for a makeover.

Weird. Eerie. Who are you?? :)

Anonymous said...

Oh, this was so sweet to read, lady!

Transitions like that can be SO overwhelming for both mother and daughter. For mother because she's afraid she's about to be excluded and daughter because she's afraid she'll be rejected. It's such a perfect lesson for all of us to remember!

Happy Birthday, Mamma 'Burb! May you have many more happy, healthy, blessed years!

Anonymous said...

My mother never wears makeup and never passed that gene down to me. I have no idea what to do with it. Mascara terrifies me and infects my eyes, every single time. I wear contacts too! Maybe that's why? Sometimes I can slap on some blush without appearing like a clown. Sometimes I look like a clown. Maybe I'll look into this Merle Norman idea...

Happy Happy Birthday to your mom!