15: Beautiful Girls

15: Beautiful Girls

From Chicken Soup for the Soul: The Magic of Mothers and Daughters

Beautiful Girls

Beauty comes as much from the mind as from the eye.

~Grey Livingston

I promised my daughter that she could do my make-up on Saturday night. My husband and I were going to a party, a casual affair, outdoors, and I thought, why not? My girl would love this chance to play with all the goodies in my make-up drawer, and I could always re-do any collateral damage in the car.

I was ill-prepared for the grandness of the event at hand. Not the party… the makeover. When I came upstairs to dress, she had arranged all of her tools and color choices on the counter. Brushes, shadows, blushes, liners, concealers and powders, all artfully displayed in my bathroom.

“Ready, Mom?”

“I’m dressing first, and then I’ll be ready for make-up, Abigail.”

“I’m not so sure about that black shirt,” she says, eying me.

I take a deep breath.

“I think it’s good with the rest of the outfit, Abby.”

She gives me a look filled with doubt. She is ten.

“Mom, I’m just saying… long sleeves?”

“Yes,” I answer, realizing suddenly that I have stepped into an episode of “What Not to Wear, The Tween Years.”

The make-up portion of the evening is sounding better and better, so I finish dressing and approach the bathroom.

I begin to moisturize, and she watches.

“What kind do you use?” she asks. I tell her, and take the moment to talk about sunscreen.

“Good point,” she says.

She reaches for the blush, and I stop her, needing to first blend in a mineral foundation. She watches, entranced.

“Oh, shoot!” I exclaim. “I forgot my eye cream.”

“What’s eye cream for?” Abby asks.

“Dark circles.”

“Yeah, you’re gonna want that.”

I feel my lips twitch with unspoken words, but she is right.

I blend in the under-eye cream, and then it is her turn. She begins with my eyes, showing me her color choices, seeming shocked that I don’t question her decisions. There is no need; she is right about everything. The browns, the golds, the colors to highlight my best features and conceal the imperfections. There is even a little extra sparkle for nighttime. She holds my face in her hands and uses a light touch. It takes a while, and I am in no hurry. I let her apply my eyeliner, my mascara, and then powder, lipstick, and blush.

“I want to use a darker blush, Mom. I think it will be pretty.”

I okay the decision, and when I look in the mirror, it is her face I see first, next to mine, waiting for a reaction. For a moment, I am stunned by the job she has done. My make-up is soft, it is luminous — it is exactly the way I would want to look for this particular night.

“Abby, you did such a good job. A really, really good job. I’m beautiful.”

“Do you think so?”

Do I think so? That’s a huge question. How often do I feel it? Like many women, perhaps rarely. And say it out loud? Perhaps never. But she had created on me (and in me) such a difference, that it was easy to give in to the moment. I was beautiful, by her hand, and she had given me this unexpected gift. This beauty. This beautiful moment.

I add the cardigan to the black T-shirt. I’m not sure if she is impressed and I find myself actually wanting her opinion, but it is late, and I need to leave.

“You need more gloss,” she says.

I stop in the doorway of the bedroom and allow her to touch up my lips.

“There,” she says, satisfied.

“Thank you,” I say, meaning it.

“You’re welcome.” She is beaming.

How is it that I feel like a movie star but it is Abby’s face that is shining, with no make-up at all?

Hers is true beauty glowing from within… no compacts, no glosses, no tubes. And if I could bottle up that beautiful feeling, that beautiful moment, that beautiful girl, I would. And on a day that is bound to come, a day when she questions her own beauty, I would open that bottle and give back to her this beautiful gift that she has so freely given to me.

~Christy Chafe

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