My morning routine is pretty consistent. While the house is quiet except for the morning prose drifting from a radio tuned to CBC, I sit in front of my mirror and apply my makeup.
My eyes close as I smooth the moisturizer over my face. A twice daily routine, once at night, once in the morning; turning my face on and off for the day. I prefer my overnight routine, laying in bed and closing my eyes, feeling the cool cream cover my face as relaxation seeps into my body. But my morning moisturizing is a precursor to my day, my first step, creating a base upon which the rest of my day will be built. So I let the moisture sink into my skin, allowing myself to feel quenched just for a moment.
Only a moment.
Time creeps up on me in the morning. At one point I am covering up blemishes and the next I am pouring milk in bottles, cutting honeydew melon and pulling up knee-highs. The day has started; full speed ahead. Two miniature sneakers full of little feet chase after me, pitter patter, pitter patter, emphasizing the time. Time to get on my coat. Time to pack up my bag. Time to go.
One last glance in the mirror and for the briefest of moments, I see myself how the world sees me. No longer Mama, no longer wife. No longer those parts of me that are so ingrained into my core. Just a container now. Smooth hair. Made-up face. Office attire. Woman.
Except there, on my face, something is out of place. Obscure against an artist’s palette is something not completed. My lips are naked, undefined and nearly hidden.
I enter the world flawed as I leave my house, boy in arms. Buckle the car seat, key in ignition, foot on gas. Stop sign. Red light. Left turn. Straight.
Peering in the rear view mirror to check on my baby, I notice my incomplete lips. My free hand immediately reaches for my purse, searching aimlessly for the tube of lipstick. It is a habit, being presentable. It is a desire, being beautiful.
I stop myself. My foot reaches for the break and I pull my hand away from my purse.
No. Not yet.
The signal blinks. Tick tick, tick tick, time emphasized once more. I lean the car into the driveway. Little arms wait for me, extended, framing the beautiful smile. My smile. My husband’s smile. His very own, unique-to-him smile. Unbuckle the seat belt, reach for those open arms, and squeeze.
Together, we walk into the house and talk about the great day he will have. We imagine his big adventures. But only for a moment.
Because then, we’re inside. Handing over a diaper bag, a coat, a boy.
No. Not yet.
These lips have been waiting for this moment.
Goodbye. Kiss. I love you. Kiss. Have a great day. Kiss.
And now – now I can put on lipstick.