Not Quite the Face Paint I Had in Mind

I got these messages from Lynnette yesterday afternoon and I am terribly lucky that I was not driving an automobile or operating heavy machinery.



As you know, Madison has a dance performance on Friday night. Last night was her dress rehearsal and I was in my classroom reading essays on poetry. Lynnette is a makeup aficionado and it was only a matter of time until Madison became interested in it, too. Madison has received some kind of makeup gift for Christmas and her birthday for the last two years. “Can we open it now?” she’d ask. “No,” I’d say. Lynnette is a woman and she relented. “You can only wear makeup for special occasions and never outside of the house,” Lynnette told Madison. Mad took the deal in a heartbeat.

Mad still tries to pull makeup-related stunts. Every once in a while, she’ll flash me a devious smile and I won’t know why – until I see the extra gloss on her lips. “Are you wearing lip gloss?!” I’ll shout. She’ll giggle and run away. Sometimes, Lynnette will announce that we’re going to dinner. “Can I wear my makeup?” Madison will ask. “Not outside the house,” Lynnette will remind her. “Hawwwwwwwww! No fun!” Madison will complain.

This is her default picture face. There's hope.

This is her default picture face. There’s hope.

When I got home last night, Abby wasn’t the first to the top of the stairs. Madison was. “Hi, dad!” She was leaning forward awkwardly. I knew what she was doing. “Do you like my makeup, dad?” she asked when I arrived at the top of the stairs. “Yes,” I said. Maybe I wasn’t being completely honest. That question might be the daughter’s equivalent to the wife’s “Does this make me look fat?” She was excited to tell me that she had her dress rehearsal. She was quick to remind me that her show was taking place on Friday night. She was eager to know if I was excited, too. I am.

I suppose this is simply the natural extension of any number of “firsts” I will experience as the result of having a daughter, much like having to walk through the pink aisle at the toy store was, once upon a time. My experience with makeup is limited to eye black and the foundation-ish cream I use when I have a really bad pimple or skin infection. Lynnette loves when this happens. She lurks in the doorway to the bathroom and mockingly crows “Aww, Phil, using makeup?” as I stand in the bathroom leaning over the sink, clumsily attempting to apply it. I want to drop an expletive-laden comeback, but I never do. I can’t. I need her help. I can certainly understand, however, why Madison is interested in makeup. Lynnette owns a tackle box full of pencils and other things I don’t have names for. Mad’s watched Lynnette’s meticulous work dozens of times. From Madison’s point of view, Lynnette’s tackle box must seem like a treasure chest of princessesque girliness that she would lovelovelove to call her own.


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