As the day wore long yesterday, I quietly bemoaned the before-I-can-go-to-bed list of must-do-items still on my plate.
"Wash my face" topped the list. My mom laughed at me during some late-night conversation (it must have been getting close to 8:00 p.m.) when I sighed with a dramatic flair of exhaustion, "And I still have to wash my face!"
Long ago, in a faraway land I read a story about a man and a wife. The wife said to her husband, "I am going to bed." She then proceeded to make lunches, pick up the scattered items that littered the way to her destination, said good-night to the kids, talked with them, remembered to write something down on her list, watered the plants, grabbed what she needed to remember to take out the door with her in the morning. Then ... she washed her face, applied her night cream, brushed her teeth, cleaned the bathroom behind her and as she finally made her way to her room, she pulled out what she was going to wear the next day and got ready for bed, checked the alarm (and I'm sure that I missed out at least a dozen other things she may have done). And ... she went to bed. A short while later, her husband stood up and exclaimed to no one in particular, "I am going to bed". And he did.
Ever since I read that all-knowing piece of literature, I have strived to just be a man and simply "go to bed" at the end of my day.
This is harder than it appears. Because every single thing 'that wife' did must still be done at some point in the day. So I strive (all day) to make my going-to-bed-hours as simple as possible. I simply cannot wait for the social part of my day to end so that I can wash off my make up, brush my teeth and do whatever pre-bedtime maintenance is required. I call it 'getting my head ready for bed'.
Last night, my last daycare charge was not picked up until 7:00 p.m. ('thanks' for the [lack of] phone call, Mom). I needed milk. I told My Youngest we could go out for a drive (in an abandoned parking lot - we have just received our first official snow of the season). We were standing in line to pay for our 'milk'. My comment to the cashier (upon seeing the grand total of my cart) was "Gee! Milk has gotten expensive! I came here to buy milk and it cost $114.29!!". Obviously I should buy my milk somewhere cheaper. But those stores don't come with a large portion of their parking lot vacant, so a learner driver can practise driving in the snow.
Eventually we got home. It took two of us three trips (it would have been two, except we 'had' to stop and buy supper. Who can cook a meal at that ungodly hour??) to unload the 'milk' from the car.
It was after 8:00 and I started thinking "... and I still have to get my head ready for bed.....". Then I recalled the events of my morning. I had a shower. I fussed with my hair. I got dressed. I cleaned cat litter. I did a myriad of pre-daycare-opening preparation activities. But I had no recollection of putting on make up that very morning. I (eventually) looked in the mirror. Sure enough. I had forgotten to put on any eye and cheek enhancing colors that particular morning. And people still saw me. In fact when I told this exciting fact (it meant that I didn't have to wash that make up off at the end of the night) to my Youngest Son, he told me "You don't look any different without make up". He continued "Some people put on more make up than they should. Others put it on and you can't even tell. Either way, it is a waste of money." And time, I silently added.
I could use that extra five minutes in the morning and five minutes at night to do other much more important things. Like sleep. Or write. Or find enough bobby pins to tame down my unruly hair (my three-month old hair cut has finally grown out to the stage where it looks like I have just gotten a brand new hair cut so I am not getting it cut again!).
I take care of children who see me in ways that take much more primping than make up. They see me through eyes of innocence. If I am patient, kind and nurturing I am beautiful in their eyes. And isn't that all that really matters in the end? If you treat the world with kindness, the world tends to do its best to reciprocate the favor. And at the end of it all, you say "What a beautiful day!"
Skip the make up and apply a dose of kindness to your day. Then sit back and see what happens.