Made Up

It finally happened. After much negotiation, begging, whining, and asking nicely, I finally caved. I knew this day would come eventually, and last Saturday, it arrived—my 11-year-old, sixth-grade daughter is wearing makeup.

For me, it was eighth grade. I was allowed eyeliner and lip gloss. I looked ridiculous but thought I looked fabulous. I remember the excitement of learning how to apply it (from my older sister and the other girls in the school bathroom). I remember how it used to cake up in the corners of my eyes and wear off before day’s end, but I loved it. Wearing makeup is so girly and grown-up and sexy—all the things I loved to be at age 13, and all of the things I don’t want my 11-year-old to be!

Apparently kids today grow up faster than in 1985, since according to my daughter, “ALL” the girls in sixth grade are already wearing makeup and mine is the last to jump on the bandwagon (yeah, right). After a survey of other moms, I learned that maybe she is in fact one of the last. So I caved.

We pilgrimaged to Target, the mecca of sixth-grade-girl makeup. As we roamed the aisles, we discussed eye shadow (I said no—too hard to master at 11) and eyeliner ( I said no, can look slutty if applied too thickly). How about powder? Yes. Easy to apply, neutral, sold. Next, mascara. At first I said no, but then I remembered I agreed to let her wear makeup—so, again, I caved. I found myself extolling the virtues of one brand over the other, engaging my 11-year-old in a full discussion about makeup and really enjoying it.

This wasn’t a parenting lesson, it was a mothering lesson. My daughter is going to wear makeup eventually—I needed to enjoy this experience, savor this moment, and use it as a way for us to connect. My dread evaporated as we headed for lip gloss. We opted for a tinted lip balm in berry (she’s a “winter” on the color wheel, like me). To my surprise, she was thrilled and satisfied. I got away with mascara, lip gloss, and powder—I shouldn’t have been worried.

During this maiden voyage into makeup, I noticed an older woman following us around the aisles. When we were finished, she stopped us to say how much she enjoyed watching us have that moment. She remembered buying her daughters’ makeup when they were younger and was happy to watch us experience the milestone. I was happy to share it.

Last Saturday in Target, I taught my daughter a lesson about her skin tone and how to apply mascara and lip gloss, but I also learned a valuable lesson—to stop fighting maturity. So many of us parents want to keep our kids little forever. When I released that impossible thought, I truly enjoyed her “coming-of-makeup-age” moment.

This week I wish you the ability to choose and apply a flawless lip color to help you kiss outdated notions of parenting goodbye.

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