Today I am a Scary Mommy at Scary Mommy. Is that scary? Thank you for having me, Jill! post script: to all the concerned readers on Facebook…this story was written from a humorous angle. I didn’t include the many, many conversations that followed when the story ended – pediatrician, nurse, pharmacist, school principal, every mother I’ve ever known…I’m sorry if it came across as me not taking this situation seriously. It was scary, but mostly funny.
To redeem self from terrible smoothie concoction fed to children, I’ll tell you about the false eyelashes. I think I’ve found my Superwoman cape.
I have never worn fake eyelashes (fake? false? clueless mommy). I’ve always associated them as accoutrements only blond bombshells can or want to pull off. But when my very-brunette friend Meredith told me she and her sisters wore them for her 40th birthday a couple of years ago, I was intrigued.
How do you wear them?
Do you actually glue eyelashes to your eye lid?
Won’t they fall off?
Don’t you look like a floozy?
What if you forget they are there and they fall off in the cereal?
For years, every time I passed them at Wal-mart or Target or saw eyelash extension deals on Groupon, the curiosity grew. But still, I just wasn’t the type. Was I?
But then I too, began to climb closer to age 40. Something had to give.
Being born with puny lashes, this is just a curse I’ve had to be content with. Or…is that really not true? Having finally mastered the blowdryer after 38 years of life, I now know that “natural” isn’t all it’s cracked up to be. My hair is proof.
Perhaps with a little more effort, I too, could have eyes that “pop.” Perhaps husband would fall over in swooning delight when I stepped into the sunlight and into his arms…perhaps traffic would stop. Perhaps the show donkeys would bray, the mother hens would lay down an extra egg in my vixen honor.
Perhaps we all need to feel a little Marilyn-glory.
Armed with this new dream, I stood in front of the eyelash display in Wal-Mart. Oh, the choices for the cheap and clueless. Knowing there must be differences in eyelash quality, I was willing to lay down exactly $1, throwing them in the cart with glee, as giddy as that one time I drank Red Bull with Meredith before a soccer game (she is a suspect mommy influence.)
My new eyelashes sat in my closet for a couple of months as I gathered the courage to actually wear them. Finally, after persistent badgering from darling daughters, I decided they would be showcased at my parents-in-laws’ 43rd anniversary dinner at the Red Apple Chinese-American Buffet, encountering hundreds of diverse folk in need of fried wontons and sushi rolls.
Paige and Brynne were thrilled, watching me get ready that night. Paige had lost her tooth that day and was wearing it around her neck in a very special tooth container. She carefully showed it to me as I carefully peeled off eyelashes from plastic.
The directions were easy: Put glue on the lash rim and place on eyelash. Easy enough. But actually applying them to the upper eyelash was comical. For one thing they were too long and extended almost to my temple. The extra was hacked off and reapplied.
First impression? Definitely not Marilyn. More clown-like. Fortunately, I persevered and sought out mascara. And then? Wowza! It was kind of…fun. so different. so not-me. Eyes were actually popping!
As my love language is words, I sought out the validation:
6 year old: You look so booootiful!
9 year old: Um. Yes, Mom, keep it. I love it!
I left the bathroom. And walked down the stairs.
12 year old boy: He gave me a very strange look.
14 year old: No mom. No.
Me: I’m doing it!
Husband: He does fall over. I can’t decide if this is good or bad. He does say, “Wow.”
The whole way to the restaurant he keeps looking at me, wondering who is sitting next to him. I flutter the black bird feathers that sit on my eyes. Oh, he’s definitely swooning.
The closer we get to the restaurant, the more insecure I become, constantly checking my reflection in the mirror. Panicking, I say, “Should I just take them off?” This is a bad habit of mine. I’ll put on lipstick and then bite my lips until all color is gone and I arrive at an event in chapstick.
“No, Mama,” husband says. “Leave it.”
So I do. And the night goes splendidly. Dear in-laws like the look and look legitimately shocked when I reveal the secret. No one at the sushi bar falls over at my great beauty, but no one points their fingers and laughs either. Born this way!
We went home for bedtime, stuffed with crab rangoons, up the stairs, into the bathroom for some teeth brushing and flossing and potty time and all the rest. To have a record of the momentous night, I pulled out the camera.
While trying figure out the perfect eyelash picture, Paige carefully took out her tooth from the hanging tooth vial around her neck…and accidentally dropped it down the drain.
The only picture of the night.
Pure hysteria. Eyelashes were forgotten. Sobbing wails echoed as Brynne frantically looked down the drain. There was no way we were going to find that tooth. But hark – what was that little white thing down there? A tooth? You see, we have a drain problem in this bathroom. Too much hair, toothpaste, Polly Pocket shoes, toilet paper, and who knows what else. It has had more Draino poured down it than any other sink in the state.
But could that clog save our tooth?
And so, I found the lone wire hanger I keep for such occasions and began excavation. I knew it was a lost cause, but we just had to try, right? While Paige sobbed at my side, Brynne exclaimed, “Oh sick, disgusting. What is THAT?”
All I could say was, “Oh sick, disgusting. What is THAT?”
Apparently, in a house of four girls, we lose a lot of hair. Long, lost hair that somehow gets washed down the drain and slowly accumulates for months. And then we get to a crisis point when the water doesn’t drain as it should and I wonder why I don’t try all those natural DIY baking soda drain cleaning methods. All this long hair was twisted and lodged into something black and slimy that made me turn my head and wretch.
I worked for a good fifteen minutes, using my non-existent surgical skills until finally the very tip of the hanger began pulling up a 12-inch long black snake. It was beyond horrible. Dissection began. Which goes to show how much I really do love my children.
Many times we thought we had actually found the tooth somewhere in that slime clog, but it always turned out to be something else disgusting and unidentifiable. As shrieks and “ewwww!” echoed through the house, I pondered my fallen state of fake eyelash sophistication at a Chinese-American buffet only hours earlier.
“It’s gone, Mom. You’ll never find it,” Brynne said in defeat. Paige collapsed on the floor.
Brynne began to furiously write a note to the tooth fairy, explaining the debacle. Please, please, she begged, please come for Paige anyway!
Remembering it’s not the critic who counts, but she who is in the dissection arena, I gave it one last try, and there – in the midst of the clogged slime – was the tooth. I smiled and held it up. TRIUMPHANT!
I’d like to think my lack of drain cleanliness was destiny.
Nasty slimy snake clog was tossed in the trash. Tooth was washed and presented to a awe-struck six-year-old. My girl looked up at me with shining stars in her eyes.
“Thank you, Mama!” she burst out. “You’re the best Mama in the whole world.”
I looked in the mirror, at my long luscious eyelashes, at the small child hugging the life out of me. I was struck by how our Marilyn moments come in so many different ways.
p.s. the tooth fairy forgot to come that night, but she’s just not as reliable as a mother.