When I was a kid, Nana would ask if she had too much makeup on. I can see her so clearly in my mind. She sat at the kitchen table, getting ready for the day. The Norteñas playing in the background. She held a small mirror up to her face and shared the latest gossip.
She couldn’t see too well out of one eye, and sometimes, she put on too much makeup. I was always too embarrassed to say yes when she asked. Nana would never leave the house without looking her best.
I miss her every day, and if she asked me today to let her know if she had too much makeup on, I would say no because I can’t imagine her any other way.
Nana cared about looking presentable when she was out in public. She didn’t do it to show off or to get noticed. She did it because it was the respectful thing to do. I wish more of us were more like her.
As I think of her makeup ritual, I always chuckle. A lot of the time she was getting ready just for a trip to Wal-Mart. With rollers on her hair and a cup of coffee getting cold on the table, the aroma of grandma is fresh in my mind. I can see the cookie jars in the corner and hard candy in small tray waiting to greet visitors.
It sounds cliché but she was all those things. When you are poor and humble, everything in your home is an act of sharing with others.
She always had hard candy. Not the individually wrapped kind that our germophobic society has created, but the kind that used to come in a tube-like container. They were white with ribbon designs of different colors. They always got stuck to each other as they sat for days waiting to be offered to others.
I loved those candies, and I loved that Nana thought enough of us to have them ready for picking. She could go on for what seemed like hours as she put on her face for the world to see. On some days, I don’t think I ever said a word. I just listened.
I know you all have a Nana in your life. Maybe yours was the talker who just went on and on. Some Nanas are the worriers. They see a news flash on TV and they panic, thinking you might be in danger. My Nana was that way too.
Maybe your Nana was the saver, the kind of lady that never threw a thing away. No matter how insignificant you thought of something, she found value in it.
And maybe your Nana was the center of everything. She’s the person who hosted family dinners and Christmas Eve get-togethers. She’s the one that fed your kids after school while she babysat. She’s the one that always had a to-go container ready so that no one would go hungry.
I miss my Nana. I miss her laughter and her tears. I miss her non-stop talking and her worrying. I miss the mornings when she took too long getting ready and her cheeks were just a little more red than the average person, but just right for her face.
Thank you Nana for taking the time to care enough to ask me if I thought if you had too much makeup on.
You always looked perfect.