Today was special. My mom had a doctor’s appointment, got terrible anxiety about it, and cancelled – so I got to spend the whole morning with her. I convinced her to let me drive us to the shopping mall where we bought anti-wrinkle eyecreams. She bought a Clinique cream for herself and Shisheido for me. Next month, I am turning 48 years old and I am just starting to get my first crow’s feet (you know, those wrinkles at the corners of your eyes). It was quite a change for me to buy something I wanted. I was living in a homeless shelter a mere four months ago and I am still unemployed. It was a bizarre alternate universe for me to spend money in a shopping mall like an American. It was decadent and irresponsible, and I am going to have the loveliest, most beautiful skin with the hand-crafted oatmeal mask and Shisheido moisturizer that I bought! hahaha
Then we spent over $8 US for two coffees! Ridiculous. But the coffee was ultra-caffeinated and gave me an excellent buzz. I wonder how they get the extra caffeine into the coffees? Mommy and I sat in the super-bright food court with the too loud music and I started telling her what I have been reading on the internet about HSP’s, Highly Sensitive People. I didn’t explain very well because I have only recently started my research. I don’t know very much yet, but I mentioned being sensitive to other people’s body language, facial expressions, and emotional states; but also sensitive to bright lights and sounds and too much sensory stimulation – like in the shopping mall. It is very difficult for each of us to be around so much sensory stimulation. My mom agreed with gusto and we had a lovely conversation about emotions, hormones, menopause, and depression.
When my mother went through menopause at age 48 (eek!), she essentially “went crazy” with such an abrupt and intense depression that she had to be hospitalized. I did not know that. She said that she was lucky because when she asked the psychiatric doctors to check her hormones, they did. The results came back that she had zero estrogen. “Wait a minute”, I interrupted, “if you have zero estrogen, doesn’t that make you a man?!” We both shrugged our shoulders. My mother said they gave her an estrogen patch and BAM… within 24 hours she was completely cured of her depression. Unfortunately, the doctors wouldn’t let her go. They kept her in the psych ward for the required 10 days and then she had to do out-patient therapy for 6 weeks. I did not know that either. She said it was art therapy and music therapy. It sounded fun to me, but she said no. The other women were seriously messed up with schizophrenia and drug addictions, but all from wealthy families. Addiction hits everyone. Money does not protect you and lack of money does not protect you. I wish I could write the book of my mother’s life story, but she could not endure the trauma of telling me the stories. That’s too bad, really, because she is a very interesting woman.
Then we went into the cosmetics store, Sephora, and she bought me a mascara. $23 American is like two day’s pay in Israel. Imagine cleaning toilets for two days to get paid with a tube of mascara. But it does have argan oil in it.
On the drive home, I told my mommy that apart from spending money every day, this kind of day is exactly what I have been asking her for. I haven’t seen her in a decade and I am “just passing through”. I want to spend time with her. I want us to chat. You know, two women who love each other having conversations that are calm and respectful. And if I get argan oil mascara and hand-crafted oatmeal facial masks at the same time, that’s great, too.
I wonder if there is an age at which a woman no longer wants to chat with her mommy over a cup of tea (or a bottle of red wine)?
“Mommy & Me Time.” is copyright © 2014 by 18mitzvot. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.
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