Sunday, October 31, 2010

Treat Yourself Well

The volume of sweaters, jackets, jewels and scarves should not have surprised me but alas, I was in awe of each jam-packed bureau and closet—seven total. What the heck, Mom?

Yesterday Katie and I picked through just about every closet, drawer and cabinet in this house. We started with the cookbooks and made our way through the spa stuff and her jewelry. After a break for dinner, we then carefully eyed every thing in the clothes closet, trying on about every fifth item.

There were silly moments when Katie or I would turn our hands palms-up with a perplexed expression on our faces and wonder why she had the same skirt in three colors when we never saw her wear any of them. We found numerous shirts that were wider than there were long and we’d wonder when our mom began wearing belly shirts, as we had never seen her bear any midriff. The silliest moment was when Katie accidentally doused herself in the bluish-purple glitter of one of mom’s many holiday decorations.

There were sad moments when Katie would put on our mom’s class ring from Temple and start to tear up while saying, “My hand looks like mom’s.” We found the suitcase she took to Pittsburg still holding shampoo, underwear and two sweaters of the same color.

Aside from picking out select pieces of jewelry (Thanks Aunt Susanne!), the most useful items that I will enjoy are her spa products. Every so often, my mom would encourage me to bring a girlfriend to Fort Wayne for a Spa Day. She would prepare yogurt parfaits for breakfast, cucumber sandwiches for lunch and toasted almonds stuffed in dates for dessert. We’d sit on the sofa with soothing pads on our eyes, fresh lotion on our hands and cotton balls between our toes. One of my mom’s most coveted rules was: TREAT YOURSELF WELL.

A few years ago at the end of a trip out east, my mom was enjoying a spa treatment using Susanne’s paraffin wax machine. Within a few hours my mom was to be on an airplane to come back to Indiana. Suddenly, my mom appeared in the kitchen, visibly excited about something, and asked for a spatula. “What for?” my aunt asked. Dismissing her question, my mom rushed back upstairs. Aunt Susanne followed her upstairs to find that my mom had spilled the paraffin all over the bathroom and was desperately trying to scoop it back into the container using the spatula.

What was she doing trying to move the machine anyway? When I asked Aunt Susanne this question, she explained that my mom was trying to put the machine back on the floor, where it was normally stored, to help her stay organized. She was, in fact, trying to treat her sister well.

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