I was seated at the breakfast book club table and my daughter’s eye caught mine. She stopped and lifted her hand to her mouth, miming the move that would remove lipstick from her teeth, quietly and discreetly showing me how to fix my embarrassment.
(Super proud Mom moment by the way, when you realize that your kid is the kind who will let someone know they have spinach in their teeth, something hanging from your nose, or in this case, a second-coat of lip-gloss, applied at the last second before leaving this morning, laying siege to your pearly whites.)
I spent the rest of breakfast trying to rid myself of my tooth-tainting opponent, especially after a friend across the table made the same embarrassment-erasing gesture as my daughter. I even went to the bathroom to see if I had taken care of it. To no avail. The battle-plans for this one were laid out well in advance, and retreat was not an option. Or so it seemed.
But this feeling, this are-you-kidding-me kind of desperation that turns to of course that happened, it’s all familiar territory.
I did spend the first part of this year under attack by skin so dry around my nose that I discovered making fun of myself in front of a group of ten-year-olds was the best way to keep them from staring at the center of my face during guided reading.
And who could forget the time I was attacked in the bathroom by a pair of leggings? Not to mention the moment when my roller-skated feet sent me sailing out an emergency exit, setting off the alarm and bringing everyone running (Why have I never written about that one, I wonder.)
So yesterday wasn’t any sort of big deal. It just required a bit of perspective:
Lipstick will stick to our teeth, skin will peel from our noses, our feet will smell at the end of the day (yep, let’s just throw it all out there now), we will endure all sorts of clothing and accessory mishaps, and in more ways than we can imagine, we will lay our private selves bare, publicly.
We can try to stop it, try to hide it, try to recover from it.
Or we can embrace it.
And with it, all the ways that we are exactly what we were made to be–in all our lipstick-on-the-teeth-type glory–we are perfectly imperfect.
I am participating in the 10th annual Slice of Life Story Challenge. Today is day 30 of the 31-day challenge hosted by Two Writing Teachers. It never ceases to amaze me where slices can be found, sometimes whispered in the wind, sometimes racing on the road, sometimes smeared across your front two teeth!