Millie’s makeover of the dearly departed was well-meant…

Mother’s Day is always a slightly sad day in my household. Like many, it reminds us of those who are not with us.

Mine started in your typical way: my two-year-old daughter Millie being lovingly cajoled by her daddy into presenting me with a card. Her understanding of the day meant she wished me a ‘Happy Birthday Mother’ rather than ‘Happy Mother’s Day Mummy’. We then lay around in bed enjoying family time before we rose to go and visit those who can’t celebrate with us. 

This year the day fell on the 10-year anniversary of my husband’s father’s death. 10 years ago, while other mums were getting cold tea and toast in bed, my mother-in-law woke up and planned a funeral. Those sorts of memories leave a wound that never quite heals.

A trip was planned with other family members who miss him also, to visit the gardens where his ashes were buried. Being such a special day, the cemetery was busy with people visiting their mothers and grandmothers and as we pulled into the spot closest to my father-in-law, I scrambled to give Millie something to keep her quiet and respectful.

A lip-gloss was the item I pulled from my purse and she happily opened the lid and started applying it all over her arms, legs, and occasionally the part of the body it was intended for, her lips.

With her quiet and occupied, we sent a few words to the heavens and planted some written messages around the grave stone with Jim’s picture on it while shedding a few tears.

Suddenly I noticed Millie was a little too quiet for a two-year-old with a simple stick of gloss in her hands. Prolonged silence normally equates to a wall being drawn on in my favorite red lipstick, or a deposit being left in the corner by an L-plated toilet trainer. I glanced to my left and what I saw, I didn’t see coming. Something kinda creepy, or as some might argue, cute.

She was crouched in front of another gravestone with a picture of a lovely old lady on it. Her little arms were reaching out, lip gloss perfectly poised in her hand, painting the lips of the lady. After which she kissed the picture and then said “You look bewtiful”, something I always say to her when I apply my gloss to her little face.

Then she moved onto the next picture, one of an old man called Russell, and she did the same. If we weren’t in the ashes section of the cemetery, I’m pretty sure old Russ would have rolled over in his grave. Slightly mortified at my morbid make-up artist, I side-stepped to stop her before she continued prettying up the rest of the occupants of the dead center of town.

Not sure if I should wipe the shiny smears off the dearly departed faces, I surveyed her gloss graffiti and realised nearly every stone in sight had been smooched because they were all her height.

So I’d like to offer a blanket apology to those whose passed-on family members got a surprise make-over on Mother’s Day. But please know this: They were loved and admired by my child, who doesn’t see dead people — she kisses them.