My son’s wide, blue eyes beamed through the cage of his hockey helmet, and I noticed he was really looking at me. I was standing over him in the Emergency Room, as he lay on a stretcher, still in full uniform from the concussion he suffered an hour earlier. He almost seemed to be studying my face for reassurance, so I leaned in closer, tenderly comforting him that everything was going to be fine.
“Mama?” he beckoned quietly, still intensely staring at me through the metal bars.
I gently touched his sweaty, disgusting shoulder pad, as if it was a soft, delicate rose. “Yes, sweetheart?” My tone dripping with Motherly devotion toward her only son.
“You have a lot of holes in your face.”
The sweet smile froze to my cheeks supernaturally, though my eyebrows rose higher and I blinked a few times, attempting to process the comment. Understand that I was experiencing that every-now-and-then moment Moms have when our children are hurting and we gaze upon them as if they are angels with halos, lavishing affection and adoration, leaving our hearts utterly exposed. I was stunned. Then hurt. Then, a little annoyed.
Did he not see how cute I looked when we left for the rink? Did he somehow not hear the ear-piercing sound of my heart beating wildly out of my chest as the rink medical staff ran onto the ice tending to his motionless body? Did he miss the sweat pouring down my face in the ambulance, although I felt cold and was violently shaking?
Drips of love fell from those outrageous numbers of pores while he was being hauled off of an ice rink floor! The iron will that prevented me from launching into my perspective of the last 60 minutes was only recently developed, after fielding unnecessary remarks made by my son since he became a teenager.
The nurse began taking off his uniform, freeing me up to scan my face in the paper towel holder on the wall. No visible pores. We stopped to buy him a taco on the way home from the hospital and I ducked into the ladies room for a quick peek. Not the skin of a 30-year old, but no cavernous valleys were apparent. After three hours, five x-rays, a CT, two doctors, and a $1,573 bill, all I could focus on was how to reduce the size of my pores!
Promptly the next day, I pulled out a facial gift certificate that I hadn’t used in the 10 months since it was given to me. The spa had an opening, and I jumped in the car. The aesthetician handed me a questionnaire in the dimly lit room. After 20 silly questions peculiarly unrelated to my face, the form got down to business. “What brings you in for a facial today?” Answer: enlarged pores. “What is your #1 concern that you would like addressed?” Answer: pores diminished. “If you would purchase one product from our line today, what do you hope it would accomplish?” You know.
As the 40-something beauty began working on my face, I asked whether she read the form I filled out. “Shhh….just relax.” I shifted irritably under my pretty little towel. My pores didn’t feel any tighter and we were in there at least five minutes already.
“So, how do my pores look?” I asked casually.
She pushed down my shoulders. “Relax.”
Relax?! Who can relax now that we are 20 minutes into this and she may not have even read the sheet?!
Suddenly, the aroma of something I never smell at home filled my senses. It was gentle, calming, forcing me against my will to sink deeper into the soft bed beneath me. The smell was definitely not the sweaty hockey equipment my husband tends to dry over the heater vents in my kitchen.
My sweet boy actually did me a favor. I decided to release his remark and my foolish reaction. He was a teenager who called it like he saw it, albeit a supremely poor time to announce a flaw in his indulgent Mother. I searched my memory for the last time I had a facial. Surely it had been years and after all that child put me through over the weekend, I decided to enjoy what time was left of the rare pampering experience.