I painted my daughter’s toenails last night. Happily, she gave me a huge hug after admiring the pink sparkle then whispered in my ear, “You are the BEST mommy, ever!” I basked in my most honored parent status because it never lasts long…
The first time I had my toenails done was when my husband gifted me a spa day as a graduation gift from residency. After so many years of slaving away under florescent lights and hospital grime with stress piled upon stress, it sounded like the perfect gift to everyone except me.
I was thirty years old.
Some girls grow up getting their nails done. With moms. With friends. By themselves.
But I had never done it before.
The anxiety was overwhelming.
For weeks I stressed about the condition of my feet: the rather large bunions I had inherited from my father, the years of callous buildup from marathon training, the shape of my nails… Hell, did my feet smell bad?
Go on, take a sniff.
I darn near chickened out. I sat there throughout the procedure, mortified. Each touch of the nail tech’s hands was painful. Not physically painful. Emotionally painful.
Someone was touching my horrible feet!
In the end my feet looked beautiful. For the first time in my life my feet, my toes… they looked beautiful. At least to me.
My feet could be beautiful?
As a very little girl I always felt beautiful. Then I saw the reality of me in a photograph and all of that magic disappeared. I have spent the rest of my life trying to recapture it. There are times when I can catch a glimpse, however fleeting, when I can successfully hide the myriad of perceived flaws beneath clothes or makeup enough that I can forget about them for a moment.
Maybe it is silly that something little like nail polish can do it for me?
Perhaps I am actually lucky. Some women go to extreme measures…
I am still terribly self concious about my feet. Having my nails done is not my favorite thing to do. I can bring myself to it maybe once or twice a year, but I never regret it.
As for my daughter, I will paint her toenails pink whenever she likes and hope that she, too, can some day find that magic again and maybe escape the bunion problems…