Darker, Thicker Lashes


I recall the day when I first held my baby, my arms carefully cradling her 7-pound, 10-ounce body. I also have fond memories of small planes — actually spoons filled with baby food — zooming down to the landing strip in Jessie’s mouth. Beneath my feet, the Cheerios my toddler threw on the floor, missed by the dog but not my shoe, crunched into dust. Diapers, baby teeth, ear infections, the list goes on. But somehow Jessie grew from a baby to a 9-year-old tween. Last Sunday, she wore her mom’s shoes to church. What’s going on here? The teenage years are still far away, aren’t they?

Aside from her shoe size, there have been other signs of the impending teen years. Dress hems that once looked up to Jessie’s knees now peer down. Two new sweatsuits lasted only one school year before Jessie was ready to jog in floodwaters. Even our 1-year-old dog, Sadie, is not helping matters. A few days ago, Jessie dressed Sadie in the “Daddy’s Little Girl” top that she’d outgrown. I liked it better on Jessie.

To date, I’ve been able to keep Jessie’s ears hole-free. Her stick-on earrings look beautiful, though. She gets excited when store ads come with perfume samples. When she pulls open the sticky paper tab and shoves it under my nose, I take a whiff and wrinkle my face. Jessie laughs and quickly holds another sample to my nose, followed by more giggles.

The way I see it, or smell it, my girl is beautiful without earrings or perfume. She doesn’t need makeup either. She can shoot hoops, catch balls and swing a tennis racquet without any of that stuff. So far, Jessie has used minimal makeup — a touch of blush, a little lipstick or lip gloss, and a smidgeon of eye shadow. My wife Mattie once put a little mascara on Jessie’s lashes. However, change is in the air. I can smell it – unless the perfume samples messed up my olfactory glands. No, actually, Jessie showed me the change this morning over breakfast. 

Prior to eating, Mattie and Jessie were in the bathroom playing with makeup. When I sat down to eat my blueberry muffins, I looked across the table at my beautiful wife. My, I married well! Then I glanced toward Jessie’s chair and saw — a teenager. 

“Jessie, we can’t skip the tween years.” 

Jessie had just put on her own mascara for the first time. She was wearing lipstick, too.

I wanted to grab the box of Cheerios and ask if Jessie would like to throw some on the floor. Before I could react, though, she informed me, “Momma says I can put on my own mascara.” 

I voiced my concern that she’s too young. What if the eyelash brush hits her pupil? I’m barely ready for tween Jessie, much less teen Jessie.

Later that same Saturday, Jessie, already having reapplied her mascara once, sat in the hallway and talked to her dog. “Sadie, you’re too young for mascara.  You have to wait until you’re 2.” 

And I thought I was ill-prepared for my daughter to wear mascara. I’m not ready for my daughter — or the dog — to look like a teenager!

But whether Jessie’s makeup includes lipstick, eye shadow and mascara, or no makeup at all, one thing is certain: I love my girl and my girl loves me. 

Jessie’s Perspective:

I have very long lashes, so mascara looks good on me. My teachers are always commenting on my long eyelashes. I do not see why my dad is so against makeup. He is afraid that I will poke myself in the eye. I am not a baby anymore. I showed him how I put it on. Did that help? I do not know. What I do know is that as I get older, I will get more responsibilities. I am getting older now. My dad understands.

Patrick Hempfing had a 20-year professional career in banking, accounting and auditing before he became a father at age 44. He is now a full-time husband, stay-at-home dad and author of “MoMENts: A Dad Holds On” (available at Amazon.com). Follow him at patrickhempfing.com.


Categories: Dads, Parenting, Relationships