Little girls love make-up, and my little granddaughter, Brookelyn, is no exception.
If she is at my house when I am putting on make-up, she loves to come in and keep me company, and let me know how much she needs lipstick.
What she doesn’t know, is that I need to put lipstick on her.
It is a ritual that takes me back over 40 years.
My mom and I were in Kindred, ND, visiting Gramma Geneva. We were Going To Town, which was a big deal in those days, and always meant Fargo. You always had to look your best on Town Day, and I knew what a big deal it was when Gramma flipped down the visor, peered into the mirror and applied bright pink lipstick.
I had never seen my Gramma use lipstick before. I stared and stared and stared. She became a new woman in my eyes that day, especially after what she did next.
She turned around in the car, reached into the back seat, and taught me how to put on lipstick. I still can’t smoosh my lips around together after I put on lipstick without thinking of this moment.
I also knew I would aways be the kind of Gramma that put lipstick on little girls who really were too little to wear make-up.
The years went too fast, my dear Gramma is long gone, my little girls have outgrown the stage of getting lipstick from my Mom, and now I am the keeper of the tradition.
It is a ritual of love and heritage that is unexplainable to a 5-year-old, who asked, “Gramma, why are you crying?” the first time I taught her the secret to evenly coloring your lips.
One morning, little Brookie came in and was enthralled with the pile of make-up I was going through.
She was appalled that some of it was going in the garbage. I could tell her little heart was pining.
Mommies and Grammas are good at fixing pining hearts, aren’t we?
We dug out the old make-up from a compact and painted flesh colored fingernail polish inside.
Brookie also has learned the family trick of scrunching your lips funny while working on a project.
She’ll learn later, this especially works well while sewing. Just as I used to watch my Mom sew, now my kids watch me, or rather, they watch my lips.
Brookie was taught how to dunk the brush in just a little way, then let the excess drip off.
Gramma was taught that doing it yourself is more satisfying than having Gramma doing it perfectly.
We made a compact and a blush, and I gave her a few old brushes.
It was perfect.
She was happy enough to let me waste the rest of the make-up by throwing it away, and I was happy to teach her how to be frugal and make your own fake make-up.
Best the best part of the deal?
Knowing that yet another generation knows how to perfectly apply lipstick.