Just Wait

She comes to me as I sit on the porch enjoying some peace and quiet, trying to ignore how hot it is while I sip my coffee and update my calendar.

“Mom, do you want to do makeovers?”

She is dying to wear more makeup than just mascara and lip gloss, but she’s only 14 (I know, she's 14 but honestly, I’m not in any hurry to have her grow up too much.  There’s plenty of time.)

“Sure, let’s go!”  She is a little shocked because I agreed, but she asked me and one day soon she won’t want to spend time with me.

My goal: to show her how to subtly use makeup as a tool to enhance her looks.
Her goal: to do all the things and use all the products like she sees in her makeup tutorials so that she ends up looking like a Kardashian.
My goal: to show her that those teenage girls with flawless skin do not need all that foundation.  
Her goal: to do all the things and use all the products, and look like a Kardashian.

We decide to use my makeup, as hers is mostly sparkly.  As we sit down in the floor, spreading out all our supplies, she says “ooo! Can you do contouring on me?”

You know when, after you've asked them a question, your kids look at you with a blank stare and a few eye blinks that suggest they have no idea what words you are saying?  That’s me.

“Contouring?  Why would you want to do that?  How do you even know what that is?  Do people in real life every day actually do that?”  I have so many questions.

“I have no idea what you’re talking about or how to do that,” I lie.  Now it’s her time to blink, blink, blink.

I can see she sees right through me, so I reluctantly agree.  I'll do my best although I was being honest when I said I don't really know how to do that.  I tried to contour one day and although I kind of enjoyed the results, it made me feel incredibly self-conscious. Probably because I didn't know what I was doing. 

But then again, she has way more self-confidence than I ever did at her age.  Or (clearly) even now.

I look at her face.  She is gorgeous.  Translucent skin, a smattering of freckles, almond-shaped blue green eyes.  She has my high cheekbones, which I hated when I was her age but ha!  What did I know?!?  It’s going to kill me to make her face look plastic and flawless, when it already is flawless.  That beautiful skin!  The natural beauty only a young teenage girl possesses, when you can see how things will shape themselves as she matures.  You know, when you get the glimpses of the woman underneath the baby girl?  

As I'm working on her, she's asking me questions like, "Don't you have something more full coverage?  What kind of undereye concealer should I use?  Don't you have a blender sponge?"

Do young girls really do all this stuff?  The videos at which I've glimpsed while she's watching would suggest they do.  Why?  I didn't wear undereye concealer until I had children and wasn't getting any sleep.  I have never worn full-coverage foundation because I feel like I'm wearing a mask.  I've always kind of liked my freckles and feel like they make me look younger, healthier somehow.  I remember wanting to wear more makeup.  I remember my own mother giving me the "less is more" speech.  I thought she was clueless.  She wasn't, of course.  But all this makes me wonder, is this normal teenage girl stuff, or  messages our girls are getting from society?  Darn you, Kardashians.

We do all the things.  Minus the full-coverage foundation because it's not at our disposal.  It nearly kills me, but she's ecstatic with the results.  I take the opportunity to point out to her that it makes her look completely different, almost unrecognizable.  But maybe that's the point.  At her age, I would have given anything to look completely different than I did.  I hope she doesn't feel that way, but she's 14.  She's trying and growing and learning and yearning and stretching and reaching toward this thing, this thing that eludes her and maybe frightens her yet dazzles her, all at once. 

I realize, it's not the makeup that kills me.  It's the elusive thing - that promise of different.  The glimpse at that woman underneath the baby girl.  

I want her to be who she is.  Right now in this very moment.  For her, of course, she's only 14 after all.  

But (mainly, probably) mostly for me.


Unknown said…
Jennifer, you've done it again - made me cry. You are such a wonderful mother, and I appreciate your wisdom and love. You have such a great relationship and rapport with your children. I admire and love you. Thanks for sharing.


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