“Mom, why do you have grey hair?”
“It’s a gift from you, my dear.”
“But why don’t you get rid of it?”
“Because I earned it.”
“But no on else’s mom has grey hair.”
How does one respond to this? I’m an old mom….. I could say “That’s because I’ve had seven kids and I’m old enough to be your grandmother, my dear.” But I don’t really want to go there. Many of my old classmates are grandparents now. They post adorable baby pics of their grandchildren on social media, and get to send them home at night with their mommies and daddies. And my classmates don’t have grey hair.
My mother doesn’t even have grey hair. She had me when she was just 25. She was young and cool and had fashionable clothes, painted fingernails, and frosted hair, sipping coffee with her lady friends. I’d know date night was coming, because before Dad got home from work, she’d sit down at the kitchen table with the nail file and paint, and carefully smooth on a fresh coat of fire engine red. When Dad got home, they would kiss each other in front of us kids, and go out to dinner, holding hands as they left.
I think I’m more like my grandma, who also had seven kids. My dad was her youngest, and her home always seemed to have uncountable quantities of cousins swinging from trees and playing tricks on Uncle Joe and running off with fistfuls of Aunt Rita’s giant oatmeal cookies. I have no idea what kind of hairstyle my grandmother had. But she did have hair. It was grey.
Another child chimed in “Mom, do you want to go to the spa today?”
Do they even know what a spa is? Oh, wait. Of course they do. One walk down the toy aisle of any store will show you that dollies today come with spa chairs and cucumber slices for dolly eyes, hair dryers and makeup accessories. When I was about four, I had a doll that only had a head. Her head sat on a pedestal, and little girls were supposed to practice their preschool makeup and hairstyle skills on the head. As a future and budding artist, I painted that head with glee. Stripes on the eyes, patterns on the lips, facial tattoos…the doll was only in my possession for a short while before Dad thought better of it, and chucked it.
But I digress. “Mom, can I do a spa day for you today?”
That’s more like it. I don’t have to go anywhere, or pay a lot of money to try to look like a chic, younger mom. I can sit at my kitchen table, keep the coffee I.V. dripping, and pose as a doll head for my daughter. I can do that.
Out came the makeup case. Out came old curling irons, hair straighteners, and long-closeted products cast off from teenagers who no longer live here. I sat at my kitchen table, and was slathered with multiple colors of base, sparkly eyeshadows from the nineties, and heaven knows what else. I felt pampered and refreshed until the blobby old mascara wand hovered near my eyes. I’d like to preserve my ailing sight more than I want mascara applied. When the perpetual pony tail was removed and the hot curling iron came near, I just closed my eyes completely. I spent an hour being re-created and made over into something new.
“How is your forehead so pinched?” one asked.
“OOOh, Mommy! You look so beautiful!” said another.
“You are like a hairless wonder” said the one who inherited thick locks from my husband’s side of the family.
“Oh, Mommy!” again. “Will you look like this for church every week?”
After all was said and done, I paraded around the house, blinking my sparkly eyes and tossing my grey head while we laughed. Then I locked the bathroom door and chiseled it all off. I'm pretty sure there was play-doh in my eyebrows. If it wasn't play-doh, I do not want to know what it was...
And so, here it is, Monday already. My pedicure is still purple with sparkles. My pinched brow and grey hair are back. And I am typing this with two kids and a 90 pound dog on my lap. Sunday’s spa day was remarkable and hysterical, but I’m not sure I can recommend this spa to my friends.
I think that like grey hair, a trip to this kind of spa has to be earned.