There are several faces that the women in my family make. None are intended and all are genetic inherited the same way as hand mannerisms and stances. I’m guilty of several of them myself, and have come to recognize them now on my daughter’s faces, particularly when we’re conversing via Skype.
Skype, as amazing as it is, has a tendency to freeze, and who can blame it when it’s transmitting for free across the wide Atlantic Ocean in real time? But, in freezing, I get a long, hard look at some of the more familiar faces my girls tend to pull and, regardless of what they’re typing or saying, can get a real read on what’s going on with them.
Here are five of our more familiar family faces, all generally pulled when nearing exhaustion or frustration:
- Cleo Face. Affectionately named after our long, dead cat who stuck out her tongue when she slept. If your tongue hangs out, we all know you’re exhausted and need to sleep.
- Cry Face. Recognizable from age one on and remains with you for life. The face you pull just before bursting into a hard, unending waterfall of tears. If recognized early enough the crying spree can be avoided with the words, “Oh, oh, cry face.”
- Bitch Face. Generally appears around puberty and can stay with you for life. A face pulled inadvertently because you’re uncomfortable and don’t want to be someplace. Strangers misinterpret it as being snotty or haughty, but the face has nothing to do with them and everything to do with you. In fact, you’re generally trying hard not to be a bitch and not interacting with them, only leading more to the misinterpretation of snootiness.
- Uncle Gary Face. A face that appears largely when you’re sleeping in the car, or commuting and your head goes back. Somehow the family resemblance suddenly becomes clear.
- Tropicana Face. This is the newest one I just made up on Skype for when faces freeze while concentrating on something being said. Frozen concentrate, get it?
A good decision good is always relative. A few months ago, I had to decide how and when to get to Tucson in July to attend the US Twirling Association Nationals competition for my youngest. Since it was likely going to be her last (she is perhaps retiring), I decided to bring the entire family and, for once, booked early enough to get decent flights and hotel rooms. But then a funny thing happened on the way to Tucson. I lost my job.
The knee jerk reaction might be to cancel the family trip in order to keep expenses to a minimum, but we didn’t. Instead, we swallowed hard and boarded the plane for what may be the last family vacation in a long while. We braved the 116o in the shade, crammed into one hotel room together, created some new fun memories, bought souvenirs, and had a much needed break and watershed week before the next chapter of all our lives begins in which:
- Eldest is considering grad school
- Youngest is starting college 8 hours away from home
- I’m looking for the next opportunity and
- Husband is repositioning as the stabilizing force.
On vacation, we had highs and lows, saw blazing suns and monsoon rains, and ate great Mexican food and poor Cowboy steaks among a bunch of new experiences. So what would I have done differently?
If only I had known that I suddenly had time and fewer funds on my hands, I would have planned a cross-country road trip. I would have spent the money on gas and Motel 8’s and watched the country change from urban skyscrapers to wheat fields and chaparral deserts. I’ve never ever had that kind of time. Now I had both the time and a reason to be half way across the country. But, flying and cramming it into a week was the best decision at the time.
The good news, I suppose, is I’m back at my computer and can start looking for the next career move sooner rather than later. The other good news is we had a great week together. As another family said, “It’s the Mastercard commercial. Priceless.” There is no bad news, just a small regret that I could have done it differently had I only known. That’s the kicker in not being omniscient and knowing the future.