The basket is filled with makeup that belonged to my aunt; she passed away during the summer. The paintings of trees remind me of the vivacity my uncle had; he passed away last summer. The kicks make me aware of what is to come; he was conceived in the summer.
It is humbling to know that we were able to create life. My heart jumping pushes me out of the bed, and it reminds me to celebrate everything around me.
As all of these memories were overwhelming my mind, I looked at the basket full of makeup and the mound of rings spread throughout my room. These are just things, stuff, objects. Most of the time, I ask "hey, these are things, why am I so attached?" or "hey, it's just makeup, so who cares that the lipstick melted and the shadow broke." But this morning, I realized they they aren't just things. The tubes of lipsticks and the baubles are treasures. If observed with an open perspective, they are treasures that tell a life about the people.
When I was younger, my aunt would sweep me away for weekends, and we would do our nails, go to makeup stores, just girl stuff. She was the one who introduced me to the importance of taking care of myself aesthetically. She was the one who taught me how to do my own manicures, tweeze my eyebrows, and experiment with skincare products. It sounds so trivial to some, but she awakened the fun side of being a woman. Sometimes it is so overwhelming to deal with the unjust expectations at work, the second shift, and the dating world that a small tube of lipstick, or a round pan of shadow just makes everything melt away. We can get lost in creativity and in ourselves. Makeup is personal, individual, and for us who document the faces of the day, a journal of our moods and feelings. My husband doesn't understand my connection to the vast array of colors and textures makeup offers. When he questions why I need another red lipstick, I tell him, "When I am gone, these are the memories you will have. You will find yourself looking inside my cabinet and smelling the faintness of my breath on the lipstick, and you will trace the shape my lips left behind." I don't know if he ever would, but I like to think so. And now, I find myself doing this ritual with my aunt's lipsticks. I see her MAC Dubonnet, and she is in front of me placing the lipstick in between her lips and swiping it from side to side. The lips kind of matched her reddish hair. She loved intense colors. Then I see all of the creams; she loved creams. Near the end of her life she just wanted to find a cream that would relieve the dryness her chemo and radiation left behind. The only relief was her last struggling breath. I miss her dearly, but I find solace in something as simple as makeup.
My uncle wasn't into makeup, but he loved jewelry. Every time we saw him he came bearing gifts. I remember, he would be sure to put the rings and earrings in lovely feminine boxes. My sister and I felt like princesses. My uncle had huge, sausage-like fingers. He was so funny because he would gauge our ring size by trying the candidates on his fingers. Therefore, sometimes the rings were just too big. It didn't matter though because it came from him. I went through a phase where I really wasn't into wearing any type of jewelry, but now, all I want to do is overwhelm my fingers in pretty stones, shiny gems, and precious metals. Recently, I have started to stack the rings he gave me throughout the years. When I look down at these adorned fingers, I remember his thick hands delicately slipping the rings on my fingers. He did so with pride, tenderness, and love. Just as my aunt taught me how to decorate my face, my uncle taught me how to decorate my wrists, fingers, ears, and neck. Trinkets to some; legacies to me.
As my heart beats and the baby kicks, I am sad that baby Felix won't meet his great-aunt and uncle, but I can tell him of their influence and show him their gifts. My son may not grow up to appreciate makeup or baubles, but at least I can make him aware that they are not just things. These objects are treasures that allowed his mother to express herself when words chose not to flow.