I believe in girl power. Rich, music-blaring, arm-wrestling, mountain-climbing girl-power. But then my mom got Botoxed. Right in the face. In her forehead and cheeks.
Growing up, her lessons to me were how to be real and to always “go big.” We spent three years abroad before I was even six years old. She took me traveling to thirteen countries before I could tie my own shoes. She created field trips to see the ambulance authority and camping trips in the muggy Pennsylvania hills. She was the campfire starter. She taught me how to pee in a cup in a moving car. She gave my son the scooters that she and I used to race around the hidden streets of France (she was the hippest and only 60 years old on a Razor). She still does skits in restaurants with one napkin and ten characters that she creates on the spot. She has a strong handshake. She’s taught human sexuality courses. I love hearing her recounts of her rebellious camp counselor days. She doesn’t mind that I don’t wear panty hose as an adult and she still instills me with the passion to try new things and dream big.
These are the things that I love and admire about her. She has been stoking my girl-powered embers ever since I could dig for sand crabs on the Carolina shores. I’ve always wanted to be a mom just like her – so carpe diem-esce. But now she’s been Botoxed and I feel so, well, betrayed. So double-crossed. Like she should have taught me to mind my manners and how to set a fancy table and to laugh at someone’s jokes even if they’re not funny. Like now I don’t know her and then perhaps I don’t know myself either.
After some pause, about six months of it, I’ve come to the realization that this Botoxing actually is not out of character for her. Initially it seems so vain, so fake, so superficial. As I look deeper, I realize that this is just another new adventure, a crafty and inspired project, and just “something fun” to experiment with and try. It leads me beyond my snap judgment and stereotypes to a bigger place of acceptance and exploring my thought processes. This time she’s teaching me a lesson in complexity. Yep, there she goes again. Always teaching me to challenge the way I think and see the world. She knows how to sneak girl power into the most unusual places. I can’t wait for my daughter to get old enough to go paintballing with Grandma or perhaps to a bull fight. And if they go and get manicures together first, I believe I’ll understand.