Thanksgiving is soon upon us and with it people are starting to think about what they’re grateful for. Articles, talk shows, and blog posts are filled with people eloquently sharing what means the most to them.
Since I love my family so much and am so glad to have them in my life, you would think they would be the first thing that comes to my mind when someone asks me what I’m grateful for.
Nine out of ten times I will give another answer.
Though I am eternally grateful for my husband, children, friends and family, what often pops in my head first is… lipstick.
You read that right.
I should explain that I have a very odd mind. I’m going to blame my dyslexia, but it’s equally possible that my sister’s explanation that I’m from another planet is true. The words and phrases that come out of my mouth have been known to confuse the heck out of people.
A great example would be the time our oldest, Tom, was only a toddler. We were at my parents’ house for dinner, along with my sisters and their husbands. I was in the kitchen getting something when I noticed in the corner of my eye that Tom had crawled onto a chair and was about to fall backwards.
I did not call out his name, “help”,”danger”, or any other word that most people would have used in the same situation.
I cried out, “Chernobyl.”
Thankfully my brother-in-law, also named Tom, was right next to my toddler and grabbed him in the nick of time.
As I was holding my baby and calming us both down, my brother-in-law asked, “Kathy, why did you scream out Chernobyl?”
“I don’t know. Standing there all I could think of was that Tom’s falling would be a disaster.”
“And your mind went to the nuclear disaster at Chernobyl?”
After 46 years, I’ve grown accustomed to my thought process, but I’ve never really been happy how my mind pulls odd things together to make sense of the world around me.
As I construct the intricacies of my thoughts into essays, I have found the benefit of thinking outside the box.
In my mind, lipstick really is something I’m grateful for.
Whether my lipstick is an expensive tube that feels luxurious and is packaged beautifully or a little lip gloss I picked up at the dollar store, few things can give such a lift to my spirits.
A quick look in the mirror and a swipe of the moist, creamy balm that gives my very pale complexion a lift can make even the hardest, most stressful days seems a bit better.
Pink, brown, red, even the black lipstick I had to buy the year I turned 30, all make me feel a bit better about myself.
Those few minutes in front of the mirror are sometimes the only moments I take that are entirely mine. I’m not thinking of all the things that I need to get done on my constantly growing to-do list.
Or what I’m going to make for dinner that is going to please one of the world’s pickiest eaters.
And, I’m not thinking of my daughter, Lizzy, and all her needs that at times scare the life out of me. For those few moments all I’m thinking of is putting my lipstick on straight and looking a little pretty for the day.
I love that I can have my shabbiest gym clothes on, but if I take a minute to put a dab of color on my lips, my friends think I look like I’m up and ready to face the day, when they pass me in the drop-off lane at the middle school.
What I especially like is that my lipstick ends up on the faces of the people I love the most.
Not a day goes by that I’m not rubbing off lipstick off our youngest, Peter as I put him on the bus each day as we giggle and say our goodbyes.
Or, the “lipstick” kisses, Lizzy and I share each day. I give her a light kiss on the lips and then she admires how beautiful she looks with a little bit of color on her face. Even on her worst days I can count on her smiling at that moment.
Tom, now in middle school, is not that crazy about anyone knowing he actually likes his mother, so my lipstick is no longer welcomed.
I may not relish the thought that I’m no longer his one and only, but I’m grateful that he is growing up and starting to spread his wings. I miss my little boy, but am so incredibly proud of the person he is becoming.
My husband saying “is it my shade” whenever my lipstick gets on him may be a little old after almost 19 years of marriage, but I’m grateful that I still laugh every time he says it.
I have spent years being frustrated and even embarrassed at just how disorganized my mind can seem to be.
But this year, I find myself being thankful for my ability to connect the smallest things in my life, like my love of lipstick, to those things in my life that bring the most meaning to me.