So it was with some delight that I discovered that the 'official family spreadsheet schedule' for this 'holiday' (I kid you not - one actually exists - the fact of which causes me great mirth) allowed me the blessed chance to indulge in a luxurious facial. I know, I know, there are many 'Yummy Mummy' types who regularly indulge in what I can only refer to as 'damage management'.
Sadly, I am not one of those. Not that I'm against the concept per se, but frankly, with three little boys and no time to call my own (save when the last one is in bed and I want nothing more than to free fall backwards onto my 800 thread count clad goose down - snatching an Advil PM on the way down), the concept of luxury 'Me Time' is laughable these days.
So my divine sister (the bestest friend and partner in crime a girl could ever hope for) thoughtfully arranged this lovely surprise for us (though why she needs a facial when she is a mere few years younger than me but still looks eighteen - the lucky cow- is beyond me).
What ensued was the most dopamine fuelled high I have felt in a loooong time. Probably since the days of acid house and tearing around India on a motorcycle with the husband, high on freedom and the impossible longevity of youth...
I swear I almost reached Nirvana, (certainly enlightenment: something to do with running away and reinventing myself - snagging a fat balding Russian oligarch and getting to indulge in daily facials/massages/Chanel handbag bingeing for the rest of my days) and the fact that I actually looked (if not years younger - less like a washer woman and more like someone who might employ such a person) was merely the icing on the proverbial cake.
Afterward, for the remainder of the day, I found myself glancing at my visibly tightened visage, marvelling at the transformation of my now nearly invisible pores, tighter jawline, and general glow of...could it be...youth?!
Hurrah, I thought, maybe something can be done to halt the ever widening gap between carefree youth and adult nappies that doesn't involve needles, surgery or turning myself into a gurning Madonna-esque clown face with elevated comedy cheekbones and strangely shrinking cat's eyes.
But then my Mum happened. I love her so much, and she makes me laugh all the time. I consider her one of my best friends in the world and always will, but sometimes when I haven't seen her for awhile I forget about her occasional absent-mindedness.
So when I was getting ready for bed the other night, and asked if she had any gentle face wash (as I had been sternly instructed by the esthetician to only use tepid water that night and nothing else) but alas had found the allure of the MAC make-up counter impossible to resist, what with its' new limited edition line of what I can only describe as 'Scary Stephen King Clown meets 90's Homeless Goth' without doing my customary round of trying out every single new crazy colour of face paint - emerging thereafter looking like a stripper/drag queen/mental patient and grinning at the look of horror on my Mum and sister's face at my lime green eyeshadow and ice pink lip stick.
(Limited edition or not, I was promptly instructed to wipe my face clean or I was on my own for the rest of the day, as there was no way they were going to go around with me looking like a mental patient who'd gone berserk during Arts & Crafts. I good-naturedly obliged, but not before sneaking out having purchased the amplified lipstick and an inky black eyeshadow. It's heavenly and looks amazing on - even if, as they suggested later over dinner - I have reverse facial dysmorphia and think I look great when in fact I look hideous.)
Anyway, I digress. The reason I needed to obey the strict orders to keep any chemicals at bay was to let the expensive ingredients soak into my skin and do their (not inexpensive) job. So what did I do? Blithely neglect to properly read the packaging on the 'gentle facial wipes' my Mum handed to me whilst typing away on her ipad, and scrub the heck out of my new and improved face, before crashing for the night.
The next morning I awoke to find my face awash in spots and blemishes.
"Maybe it's the impurities coming out?" my sister gently suggested later that morning when we met up...her own face aglow from the facial and making her look even younger than her usual half her age.
"Hmphh" I grunted, wondering how to cover up the huge boil that seemed to be developing in real time on my right cheek. I had woken that morning and gently used those expensive facial wipes again, so it wasn't like I had trapped Toronto dirt stuck in my newly virgin pores...I just didn't get it.
Later that day I heard the most startling guffaw as my Mum emerged from the loo, clutching the facial wipes, doubled over with laughter and barely able to stop chortling long enough to utter the words,
"The wipes!....Hahaha...the wipes I gave you.....! They aren't for your face! They are bottom wipes! Oh Honey I am so so sorry! Hahahahahahaha....."
I glared. I screamed. I glared at my boil. My sister started choking with laughter. I lost it and gave into fits of hysterical laughter which took some time to subside.
Many years from now my temporarily tightened visage will be but a distant memory...but I will always remember my beloved Mum inadvertently giving me harshly chemical 'Bottie Wipes' to use on my post-facial face. And I will laugh and laugh to myself as I rock myself further and further into dementia in my rocking chair in my old age home...face plastered in make up in all the colours of the rainbow...thinking I look rather a picture.