Baby Aspirin

"Mom, I have a headache," I tell my mother as I collapse in the bed, my arms spread out like a starfish.  She goes and gets me a baby aspirin.  The funny thing is she would get us baby aspirin for everything you could think of.  I could have a tooth ache, twisted ankle, or fever.  She would remedy everything with a baby aspirin. As I am lying in bed, waiting for the baby aspirin to works its magic, she would have her cosmetics carefully displayed to start applying her makeup. It seemed like it took her hours. She carefully applied the black eyeliner, following the curve of her lid with precision, her blues eyes would pop with the contrast, she would proceed with small stokes to apply pink lipstick dipping the little brush into the lipstick applying it her lip and repeating. She would put all her attention into the stroke of the brush.  I could ask her a question and she would just respond with huh, hum, huh? Not even stopping for a second, not losing her deep concentration on her lips.

Well sometimes I’m mesmerized by her talent, other times I would be restless and bored. I know that she would invest even more time putting back all her brushes and lipsticks and shadows in a clean way.  I grew up with her in the time that highlights were a very big trend.  So between blue eyes, pink lipstick, and blond highlights she looked like moving Technicolor.  This ritual repeated every afternoon.  I knew that every time I came back from school she would be there, waiting for us. The house was impeccably clean and orderly. The smell of food filled the house (in Mexico, we have a more European way of eating than here in the United States).  We eat our main meal of the day at 2pm.  After we all sat down at the table and ate, she would start her beauty ritual of applying her makeup.  Day after day, it never failed. That was the routine.  When she was in her 30s, she had an accident where the car door opened and she rolled out.  She has two small bluish scares on her face that she would carefully camouflage with makeup. Thinking back it fascinates me how she fixed everything with baby aspirin. I believe as long as she didn’t see BLOOD, everything was ok.

I wish life was that simple like back then, when SHE COULD FIX all my pains and sorrows with baby aspirin.  Our roles have changed.  Now she is the one who needs care and nurturing from us.  In her mind we still are those little girls.  I wish I could give her the same love and comfort like she gave to us. As much as her life is dimming, her piercing blue eyes are still there.  My sisters make sure she always has her pink lipstick, and that she has blond highlights in her hair. She has never lost her sense of femininity.

I fight in my mind the image that she is not the same woman she was when I was a child.  But I am not the same kid, like when she was a young woman.  It is just part of life.  When it comes to me, I apply my make up as fast as you are reading this phrase and I don’t fix my life with baby aspirin any more.  I fix it with Alka-Seltzer.  

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