Monday, January 24, 2011

The MakeUp is Hard to Do

The parents of my entire life celebrated sixty years of wedded bliss on Christmas Eve. Right before the New Year we gathered with family and friends at a very nice club in downtown Fort Worth to help them celebrate this milestone. We had great food, drink, stories, and a plethora of misty eyes as we all took partial credit for my parent’s accomplishment.

Marty and I were thrilled to make the trip to be a part of the celebration. Over the last couple of years we have grown ever bolder in our attempts to live a more “normal” life and we love that we can participate in these kinds of events; we have missed too many and too much.

Travelling with Marty requires planning and forethought. It’s hard for Marty; it’s both physically and emotionally taxing for both of us. It takes extra work and planning for all of us including our caregivers, but the reward, the reward of seeing Marty alive and participating, the joy of seeing her tax her brain as she communicates and relates with others is worth all of the work, the planning, and the expected accompanying angst.

Marty spent the morning and early afternoon before our trip reposing in her bed. We both took our Saturday baths on Thursday that week and we donned our best Sunday-go-to-meeting clothes. Marty even pulled out some of her jewelry and then retired to her bed to conserve her energy until it was time to leave.

We were waiting between caregivers and I sat with Marty, both of us on her bed watching television. As I was sitting with her, pondering the coming drive, I looked at her and realized we had not done any makeup. Now Marty is 56 and has remarkable skin, a really remarkable complexion given what she has endured. Marty never has never worn a lot of make-up and rarely wears any now; frankly she looks great without it, but, this is one of those special occasions that required just a bit of enhancement.

Before Marty broke her strong right arm, I could provide her a mirror, the right supplies and she could do the job on her own. This time, the making up deed fell to me. Imagine if you will a ham fisted West Texas guy coming at your face with toner and blush. That was me, a big lunk with slightly trembling hands.

I said, “Marty, what do I do with this?” She would look at me, sigh and then direct me.

As I started to decorate Marty’s face I took my Momma’s cooking advice to heart,” you can always add more, but it is hard to take salt out of the meat loaf,” and I put the toner on sparingly. Marty directed me to her cheeks, her forehead and her nose; she said it was to reduce the shine.

Then came the mascara, you know, the stuff that comes in tubes with the itty-bitty brushes that make your eyelashes longer and fuller, that stuff. I shook the bottle, I’m a compulsive bottle shaker, and pulled out the brush and slowly approached Marty’s eyelashes. Marty tried her best to keep her eye lids from fluttering, I tried my best to keep my hand from shaking and I gently and tentatively touched the brush to her eye lashes. They got bigger and longer, I was overwhelmed with courage and boldness.

I put the brush back in the mascara bottle and shook it again, emboldened by my success. Marty still wasn’t vert confident of my artistic skills and her eyelids still trembled. This time I went for the right eye and as I was moving in I managed to brush the bridge of her nose with the mascara. Shaken by the misstep I forged ahead, dabbed a bit on her the eyelashes on her right eye and promptly smeared the mascara on her eye lid.

Saying “OOOPs”, is probably not the best thing one could say when applying makeup to your loved one. Marty jerked and I smeared a bit more mascara on her right eye. I stepped back from my handiwork, wet a washcloth and delicately tried to remove all of the mascara remnants from the improper places, like eyelids and noses and my left hand.

Remarkably Marty trusted me to finish the eyelashes and then move on to the lipstick. I put some on her lips, then a little more, desperately trying to color between the lines. I finally declared complete capitulation and Marty said, “I need a mirror, right now.” I said, “Yes you do, hang tight for a second.”

I ran and got the mirror thankful I had removed the misapplied mascara. Marty looked in the mirror, pursed her lips, and then puckered her lips just like she had done hundreds of times after applying her own lipstick. She tilted her chin down, then to each side inspecting the damage and declared, “Not bad.”

Frankly I thought the whole thing was a lot better than “not bad.” I thought it something of a miracle. It wasn’t so much a miracle that this fat handed West Texas boy was applying lipstick to his wife, the miracle was that she let me, that she trusted me to do it. That’s “not bad.”

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