Why I’m Not Wearing Mascara

7 Feb

“You look tired,” said my mother-in-law gently. “Why don’t you put a bit of makeup on you?”

She meant well – of course she did – but what she had way of knowing is that I never wear mascara to airports. Because no matter how I try to talk myself up as this brave, strong person, at airports I turn into a blubbery crybaby.

The plan this evening was that I would check in for my flight, and then spend time hanging out with my family. But we all knew, with George’s autism being what it is, that this might not happen. Even at relatively quiet times like this, airports are loud, busy places with lots of people and bright fluorescent lights. Airports are a recipe for sensory overload for a child with autism who’s already bewildered by the idea that his Mommy is going away.

And so I checked in, and then George tolerated a few minutes of looking at the planes before they had to go. I hugged my mother-in-law, and then clutched onto my children without wanting to ever let them go. A hug and kiss for my husband, and then they were off.

I stood in the middle of the wide terminal and watched them go. I didn’t move until long after they were out of sight. I savoured every glimpse of them that I could get, trying to get enough to last me for the next twelve days.

And then, just as my eyes were starting to overflow, I bolted into the Ladies Room and hid myself in a stall. When the flow of tears had subsided, I washed my face, surveyed my worn-out looking self in the mirror, and remembered just why it is that I never wear mascara to airports.

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