For some reason, Grace has a strange affinity for marking up her face, and not in a Mary-Kay makeover kind of way, but a crazy "What would it look like if…." kind of way.
One day last shool year, it was ashes from the fireplace that captivated her attention. She was working studiously, laying on the floor on her belly, when I first noticed something amiss.
"Grace, what's on your face?" I asked, concerned like a real mom.
"It's, uh, well, uh," stammered Grace with a sheepish ends of her grin arising between black streaks.
"What did you DO?" I demanded.
"It's stuff from the fireplace, you know, the coal stuff," she explained, as if this would make logical sense to me.
"WHY did you do THAT?" I asked.
She looked at me like I was the freak, wondering why would I ask her why.
"Umm…because I wanted to be an Indian?" was her teenage answer, her voice lilting upwards at the end as if she wasn't sure if she was asking me or telling me.
I answered with that sniffy, snorty nostril thing we mothers have mastered that speaks volumes without speaking.
A few days later, the desire to go Native struck Grace with an urgency that again, could not be resisted. I was in my bedroom, minding my own business, when I heard jumping and shouting in the living room from a big girl voice and a little girl voice. Always concerned about damage control, I strode into the room to interrupt their war-hooping festivities.
To my confusion, but not surprise, Grace and Rebekah had interrupted their school with face-painting. Grace was SUPPOSED to be studying Biology and Rebekah was SUPPOSED to be quietly painting a piece of paper that already had paint streaks and just needed the paintbrush and water. To be more precise, there was NO NEED for either of them to be using my craft paint.
I thought I could never be surprised again by Grace until the final episode.
I was sitting there minding my own business, trying to have a few peaceful minutes on my computer before bedtime, enjoying the solitude of children all minding their own business, when I was interrupted by shrieks of panicked laughter.
"I can't open my eyes! I can't open my eyes!"
This was followed by laughter that was so deep it was almost silent, and the jiggled breaths and the punctuating squeals gave calm to the mother-panic that arises in maternal instinct. I jumped from the bed and dashed to the top of the stairs.
"What did you do this time?" I asked.
Grace was being guided by her five year old sister. Like Mr. Magoo, she was stumbling up the staircase, her hands out in front of her, searching for the railing, sure footing and the comfort of her mother.
It was an amazingly indescribable sight. My extremely beautiful daughter had decided to spread the mascara all over her face, as if she was trying out for the part in a play of a bum and needed the fake six o'clock shadow, but even on her forehead and cheeks. Covering the brownish-black veneer was a thin, invisible layer that gave an eerie tightness and reflective state to her face.
"I tried putting on waterproof mascara…and" as she was speaking, I looked down to see a sight to behold. The mascara she was describing, was "all over my face..."
I had to interrupt, "OK, so you were trying on mascara but then rubbed it all over your face?"
"Yea," she admitted.
While I asked the next obligatory question, "WHY?" I was wondering if I really wanted to know the answer.
"I just thought it would be funny?!?"
She continued her tale, "but I couldn't get it off..."
"Yea, Grace, it is WATERPROOF, that means you can't get it off with water," I informed too late to help.
She continued, her face barely moving as she finished her speech through stiff lips, "I know that NOW. So then I put a mask on, thinking I could get it off, and then my eyes got glued shut."
Feeling the familiar "What Will She Think of Next?" feeling come over me, I decided to take advantage of the situation. "OK, I will clean you up, but only if we get pics first," sending the older teenage daughter for the camera.
As she hunched over on the couch, lost in laughter and trying to shield her face, I graciously pulled on her ponytail until her folly could be captured for all of time to behold.
I led her into my bathroom and began daubing her eyes with cotton balls filled with mascara remover, while she giggled self-consciously. When I had accomplished the miracle of cleaning her eyes and releasing her eyelashes from their gooped-together state, we looked together in the mirror. Her white encircled eyes made her look like Little Rascal's dog, Petey, on a negative.
She ran downstairs to finish the clean-up without her Mommy and I marveled at what another day in the life of Amazing Grace had wrought.
Our mouths were filled with laughter,
our tongues with songs of joy.
Then it was said among the nations,
"The LORD has done great things for them."
Yes, now thanks to the internet, the nations will know the great things the Lord has done, He has given us our Amazing Grace, who has filled our mouths with laughter.
The Bible also says,
A cheerful heart is good medicine,
but a crushed spirit dries up the bones.
She may cure me of cancer yet.