I am an inherently grateful person. Every day I recognize that I’m thankful for my health, my family, my job, the roof over my head – which I know sounds like some syrupy religious freak, but it’s true.
So it surprises me that I am well enough to celebrate Christmas with my husband’s and my family, and yet I’m a little pissed off. The onset of shingles occurred over six weeks ago, and I still have low-grade constant pain and raw, sensitive skin. But I’m no longer bed-ridden, and lucky to be able to enjoy the holiday. However there’s one teensy concern – my vanity.
I apply a shiny layer of Aquaphor to my nose and forehead, which means it’s impossible to wear makeup. I tweezed my eyebrows too much in high school, so now I only have scraggly hairs attempting to cover my brow like a bald man with a bad comb-over. Eyebrow pencil won’t stick to the greasy skin. My left eye is still puffy and red and I’m afraid to put on mascara and eye shadow for fear it will hurt to take it off.
The worst part is my roots. I’ve dyed my hair red for over 20 years, so almost no one knows me as the blonde I grew up as. I started turning grey in my 30’s, and now my natural hair is almost completely grey and white. The left side of my scalp is still burning, so I can’t dye my hair and my roots are now over an inch long.
When did I get to be so vain? I’m excited to spend the holiday with my family, but I’m dreading the photos. This is the time I take photos that will be blown up into 8x10s with a frame that says “Family” on it. I’m afraid I’ll look like Lily, the mom from “The Musters.”
My plan is to wear a big Santa hat that will cover my roots and forehead and avoid cameras as much as possible.
My vanity inspired me to write a little Christmas song to the tune of “Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer.” If you can carry a tune, you’re welcome to sing it out loud:
Cathy, the red head mommy
Had a very harsh disease
And if you ever saw her
You would want to laugh and tease
Shingles – they covered her face
Set her head and scalp aflame
She couldn’t put on makeup
Like all them other classy dames
She was groggy from the meds
Her roots had turned to grey
Cathy with her hair so white
Got AARP’s invite
Now with the family photos
Taken throughout Christmas eve
Cathy, the red head mommy:
I’m burning every shot of me!!!