I realize that this could translate badly in some relationships, and I would probably not be super enthused about receiving a diet book as a gift ever. But when life gets a bit more challenging it forces you to be more picky about your priorities. I am, for example, a pretty good mom these days. I spend a lot of one-on-one time with Iris and put a lot of thought into making plans for our little man’s arrival. I work hard to give Iris a routine, to involve her in the fun stuff and stick with her in the not-so-fun stuff. I read articles about childhood development in my spare time. I am interested in everything about this parent-child relationship.
I’m persistent about writing too. I take Iris’s naps and early bedtimes and Carl’s evenings out to piece together a growing word count. I care about it, and I work hard to carve out the time to make it happen.
I like the whole process of home creation. I spend time every day cooking, gardening, doing home care projects, washing dishes, sorting laundry. I like the smell of almond cookies in the oven and lemon-scenting cleaning products. I won’t lie: our house isn’t spotless by a long stretch. But it matters to us. Home in all its manifestations makes us happy, so we work at it.
There are other things I care about, obviously, but you understand where I’m going with this. When life gets busy, one of the easiest things for me to let go of is the extra-mile beauty ritual. I’m not talking about the basics. I shower. I shave. I even get around to plucking my eyebrows most weeks. But the polish on my toes starts to chip. I don’t blow dry my hair much (honestly? ever). The skin on my elbows and heels starts to get rough. It doesn’t bother me to go out in public without makeup because, really, why should it? The double standard of male/female beauty annoys the crap out of me, but I swear I don’t have a sour grapes attitude in general. I admire women who are put together, who manage to have children and find time to put on mascara. I like looking at fashion magazines. I am sort of fascinated by make up in general and am always putting things like “master the smoky eye” on my annual goals list. (I have never mastered the smoky eye).
But, to me, it’s always an extra. It’s a last hired, first fired kind of thing, and that’s what made the gift so perfect this year. Extra is exactly what a gift should be.
I didn’t pick out a lot of make up to be honest. I’m realistic enough to know that about as far as I’ll get in the next 12 months is lipgloss, mascara, and tinted moisturizer. But I did buy some really thick, really fabulous cream for my elbows and heels. I bought better quality lip balms and showerish things. Things I’ll use. I also bought a punchy orange-red for my summertime toes.
And this evening after I got Iris to bed, I even used it.