Being a military kid can generally go one of two ways: you’re lucky and your parents end up stationed in one place for a long enough time they c an get a house, settle down and you grow up near base with the same people and same families you were born around, and retire there, too. Or, you get stationed everywhere frequently. You uproot everything and leave friends and new people behind. You hope you’ll keep up but time and distance often keeps that from happening. There are several smaller degrees of severity: sometimes your parents get stations a metric butt ton. You’re moving every year or two it seems. And sometimes–which I think is the worst–you’re moving every four or five. Just enough time to set settled in a place and think you’re going to be there for a while and then you have to go.
I was lucky enough that the military only saw fit to station my father in four places, two each in the same province (as far as I remember. Dad, feel free to correct me if I am wrong.) First in Nova Scotia, then in Alberta, than back to Nova Scotia. During my early teen age years and back in Nova Scotia, we used to live in a little town called Berwick. Originally the first 2 bedroom apartment we moved into was so cramped it was ridiculous. A family of two might have found it spacious, but with a family of two with an almost teen age girl, a small dog, couches, televisions etc–it was like squeezing yourself through toothpaste. In my bedroom, I had enough room to stand up between the dresser and bed and then there was the door out right by my closet. Luckily, we moved out of there (My mom and I moved the furniture mostly. That was fun. Not) and into a much more spacious apartment.
At least, I remember it being so. My new apartment bedroom had enough room for my bed and plenty of space between closet and dresser. We have a living room large enough for all of our furniture and a nice big window, we had a dining room and kitchen too–not a dining kitchen living room.
It was in this apartment and around the age of (I think) thirteen that my mother gave me my few pieces of make up. My mother came into the bed room where I was sitting and listening to music or maybe doing homework–and she had two things held in her hand. She didn’t say anything as she took her hands from behind her back and offered them to me, palms up. In the right palm was a tiny, pastel pink plastic container a little larger than a loonie (or a really big coin for all my ‘merican fans). In her left palm was a tube with a bright green top twisted to a pink bottom.
“Here,” she said, handing them to me. I picked them up with a bit of a stunned look.
“Do you know what these are?” She asked me. I opened the little pale pink one first, the words, Maybelline embossed into the plastic. Instead was a little circle of blue eyeshadow. I shut it and inspected the tube–covergirl brown mascara. I nodded.
“It’s make up.”
My mother nodded. “It is. This is yours, whether you want to wear it or not I leave up to you. But just a piece of advice really: less tends to be more. And at your age, I don’t think you need any. But if you want to wear this, you can. The best way to learn how to use it is to practice.”
And that was it. She left me with my new make up.
I cannot tell you how much I love my mother for that. Not for the giving of the make up, for simply leaving it up to me whether or not I wanted to wear it. She didn’t tell me I would have to wear it someday. She didn’t say that make up made you prettier or that it was a necessity of life or all girls like to wear it or any nonsense. Basically, she left it up to me to decide and didn’t interfere.
If I ever have a little girl when I grow up and the subject of make up comes up, I hope I can handle it as nonchalantly as my mother. I hope that I can tell her that she doesn’t need to wear make up, but if that is what she wants either way, I will love her and support her decision.[box type=”bio”] Melissa Pence is wife to the husband and wife team here behind 2 phatgeeks. On December 11th, 2011, Melissa lost her mother to a long, difficult battle to diabetes. In her memory, Melissa is blogging 24 hours in order to raise funds for her through the organization: Step Out: End to Walk Diabetes, and for the personal goal to finish a humming bird tattoo on her right arm in memory of her mother. [/box]