Laugh Lines

The grandfather clock sounds off and I know without counting that it’s 6 PM. I hope Molly has picked out her outfit and brushed her hair. We agreed that she could wear her crown and my lipstick as long as she is ready before the guests turn up. Wouldn’t life be so much easier as a child, when people find you endearing in a crown and your face is still young enough for neon pink lipstick? 

 I find Molly upstairs in my room, seated at my vanity. At first, I think she is applying makeup and then I watch her more closely. She is sitting in front of the mirror with a grin so unnatural and big that it looks painful. “What are you doing there in the mirror? Shouldn’t you be dressed by now?” I ask, smoothing out her unruly but delicate ponytail. She has a gown on but it’s one of mine, fully zipped and barely hanging onto her petite eight-year-old frame. I spot her bright pink dress heaped on the floor like an explosion of fuchsia flowers.

Molly looks up, only for a moment. “I’m trying my best to get lines like the ones you have on your face, Mom,” she says through clenched teeth. “I call them laugh lines because they show up when you smile big or when you giggle so hard that wine comes out of your nose. You look the prettiest when your laugh lines are showing.”

My smile flat lines as I process what she is saying. “How did you…Molly, that’s not a very nice thing to say about your mother,” I sputter. "Grown-ups don’t want to look like grown-ups. Trust me when I say that you will get more lines on your face than you’ll ever want and when they appear, you will wish them gone immediately." 

“Why would they wish…?” Molly trails off, clearly frustrated. “I don’t understand grown-ups, Mom. They never have time to play, need reasons for doing anything other work and now you’re telling me that they wish the prettiest parts of their faces weren’t there?”

Out of the mouths of babes…I think to myself, but I’m still reeling from her words. All I hear my friends saying is that they need to move up their next Botox appointment. "Let's go find your crown," I say, “The guests will be here any minute.”

My name is Molly Moo and I’m on a very important mission. No one knows but for Bob, my Bernese Mountain lion dog, and he guessed with me telling him very little because he’s the smartest creature in the world. His brain looks larger than Mom and Dad’s so he is my go-to for all of my questions. My relatives call me “machur” for my age. This means I have superhuman powers, which allow me to grow up faster than other kids. I’m still a lot shorter than other kids in my grade but I can already do fractions in my head at lightning speed. In fact, in less than a second I calculated that I am eight and three-eighths years old!

Let me tell you a little more about this mission. To an outsider, it may look like I’m just sitting in front of a vanity mirror with a forced smile on my face each night before bed. I sit there until I hear Mom coming up the stairs, and then I dart for my room with the lightest feet you have never heard. I want to avoid Mom and Dad because, like most grown-ups, they always need an explanation for everything and anything.

Despite my best efforts, Mom caught me at her vanity yesterday and she has been pretty quiet ever since. I must have said something that bugged her. Grown-ups can be so sensitive sometimes. Hopefully she gets over whatever is bothering her; she doesn’t seem to be hearing my apologies.

Tonight, Mom catches me again in her room. I must get my light feet from her! This time I look at her in the mirror. We don’t say a word to each other but I can see sadness in her eyes. I turn around and face her. “Mama Moo, will you please sit with me for a minute?” I reach for her and kiss her several times on the face, "Have I told you that I love everything about you? I love your heart, laughter, nose, eyes, cheeks, hugs, smiles – inside, outside and upside down. Now, I’m focused on important stuff here and I could always use the support. Want to join me? I can sit on your lap.”    

Mom smiles at me and I don’t think she could look any more beautiful. “Molly Moo,” Mom says softly, “I think you’re doing OK here on your own and I’ll be back in 15 minutes to tuck you in.” Those amazing lines are out to play again! I hope I look just like my Mama Moo when I grow-up.