It’s our ninth wedding anniversary. 6.45pm and Nick isn’t home yet, with the babysitter due at 7.15pm. I leave the girls to get into their nighties and make my escape to the bedroom to attempt some sort of transformation from mother to wife.
Having spent a day with the girls in my skinny jeans and ballet pumps, I decide I need a radical change to get myself geared up for an adult evening out. I start with dark jeans, wedge sandals and a trendy top that was a birthday present from the MIL, who has a happy knack of choosing lovely things I wouldn’t think of buying for myself.
I have hastily brushed on some make up and am considering jewellery when the girls gleefully dance into the bedroom in their nighties.
“You look pretty, mummy,” says Alice, her face all smiles at the sight of me. Not superficial at all, this one.
“Thank you, poppet.” I return her smile, inwardly glowing at the compliment, even if it is from a five year old. Turning my attention back to the jewellery box, I pick out a necklace that Nick bought for me BC. I have recently made a resolution to wear more of my jewellery as it’s something I tend to forget and kick myself for afterwards.
Looking in the mirror, I consider my reflection. The necklace, while pretty, is quite subtle and I think the ensemble could take a pair of earrings too. Alice is also looking at me in the mirror. “I like your necklace,” she says. “But the heart is the wrong way round…” Five year olds are such purists.
In the jumble of my earrings I discover a funky pair Nick gave me, even more BC, that I had more or less forgotten I owned. They are silver, slightly tarnished from disuse, but long and dangly and absolutely perfect. I replace my everyday studs and look back in the mirror. The woman I see is a polished, accessorised, more put-together version of me and even I think she looks ok.
I look back at Alice to see if she approves. Her eyes are sparkling and her grin is bigger than the Cheshire Cat’s. “I love you so much!” she exclaims, her favourite expression when I do something she approves of. “Mummy,” she says seriously, “can you wear that all the time?” I smile indulgently, but before I can answer she adds, “because you look like a proper grown-up.”
I am stunned into silence wondering just exactly what my older daughter thinks I normally look like.
Clearly time for an image makeover.