Sometimes, more and more frequently, I will see or hear or do something that instantly brings me back to a vivid moment of my childhood. Not big event moments, just everyday moments. This week, some of those moments were:
.poking my head around the open bathroom door and watching my dad shave his “mushroom.” (Now I know that he wasn’t actually shaving it, he shaved everything but. And, for what it’s worth, I also now know that such facial hair is referred to as a mustache.
.being a bunch of little kids, fresh from the bath, climbing up onto daddy’s lap for bedtime stories. I remember the smell of shampooed hair and clean nightgowns. While Bri and I were snuggling up for a good view of the illustrations, Mama would be on her knees combing out Carina’s long, wet hair in front of the full-length mirror. Then Carina, dimpled and cute and full of life, would come running as fast as her toddler legs would carry her, eager to join us. Carina was eager for everything, I think. Every photo I have of her as a little girl communicates energy and vibrancy and joy. (And, while we’re talking about Carina, I’d like to say that although she’s young, anyone interested in getting their hair done by her should know that she’s been at hairstyling for years. If I remember correctly, her career started under the kitchen table, where she hid while chopping off her bangs. Then, of course, there was the time she decided the curly phone cord needed a trim, too…)
.being called for lunch and running pell mell into the brown paneled kitchen, where Mama had little piles of green grapes at each place setting — the same number for everyone –, and we drank out of colored Tupperware cups. And fought over the red one until Dad made the rule that we absolutely were never allowed to care about the color of our dishes ever again. Ever. (Red was always the favorite M&M, too. Mama would dole those out, in even numbers, once again, and we would separate the colors, begin with brown [how ugly!!] and end with red. At least, that’s how I did it. Probably Carina began with red — and green and yellow and brown and whatever else she happened to grab first — and Brietta probably ate two browns and put the rest in her shelf, where they would turn white with age long before she ever ate them. Brietta still probably has Easter candy from ’88 in her nightstand drawer.)
And this doesn’t exactly fall in the same category of vivid memories, but I do remember Mama always making “putting on her face” a priority before we went anywhere. No matter how late we were, she would take five minutes in the bathroom, where I would watch in wonder as she quickly threw some makeup on. (I still love the smell of MaryKay.) Now I’m starting to understand why she did that, and why she always looked so… different without it on. Sleep deprivation. Ahhh. It’s all making sense to me now.
K. Enough trips down memory lane. Time for chores.
(Wanna hear something funny? Mom always told us to walk into a room and ask ourselves, “What would Mama want this to look like?” For a year and a half, as I clean my own little apartment, my to-do list still starts with, “What would Mama want this to look like?”)