Sunday, November 11, 2012

Nail polish and visiting—a gift from the heart

What gift is given when a woman does another woman’s nails?

My sisters and I had a love-hate relationship with beautiful nails.  Growing up, we watched enviously as Madge soaked her client’s nails in Palmolive and showed off the lovely results. We did farm chores, and our nails were weak and brittle. We didn’t learn how to do a nice manicure.

Later, raising five children, I seldom took time for what seemed to be a self-indulgent activity. When I did slop on some nail polish, my stubby nails were quickly battle-scarred by dishwashing, gardening, and canning. 

As in many things, I learn from my children. Our oldest daughter, Lara, learned how to care for her hands and passed the knowledge on to her sisters.  Recently she bought a dryer for gel nail polish, which we christened “the EZ Bake Oven.” 

At our family reunion, Lara took time away from fun to give manicures and pedicures to ten girls and women.  Each was able to visit with her—very relaxing—because the gel method involves applying several coats of polish and drying them for 60 to 90 minutes.   

Those nails made me feel prettier, and my shiny fingernails lasted two weeks at the peak of gardening and canning season, and my toenails lasted two months.

When my mother-in-law, Marene, went to a rehab center after a fall, Lara volunteered to do her nails.  She planned to use regular polish, since Marene wasn’t using her hands much, but Marene had heard about the EZ Bake Oven and wanted to try it.

We meshed three busy schedules to accomplish the nail session—Marene fit it in between therapy sessions, Lara found time amid the demands of four young children, and I penciled in an afternoon to tend two rambunctious boys. 

Their visit was much like this beautiful autumn—unhurried, peaceful and strengthening. Marene was pleased with the results on her beautiful, tiny hands that showed the benefits of years of dedicated moisturizing and manicuring.
When her nails began show wear, Marene asked for another manicure. We couldn’t schedule it that week, and promised to get to it the next week. 

Then she became seriously ill. Within 36 hours, we were told that her condition was terminal.  She was made comfortable, and we sat and held her tiny hands.

Angels work at “4th South,” a special part of St Luke’s Hospital in Boise, as well as in other parts of the building. Caitlyn and Kim brought us chair-beds to sleep on when sleep was desperately needed; Dawn brought juice and pamphlets about what to expect; Marla moved us to a bigger room, and with Debra, guided us gently down the path through the valley of death.  

One special angel, Lara, came with nail polish and a file and gently manicured her grandmother’s nails for the last time. 

How lovely it is to hold someone’s hands and make them feel beautiful!  

1 comment:

  1. Sometimes it is the smallest service, but given with the most love, that is what the heart truly needs.

    Thank you for sharing this!