Children have an uncanny ability to need a bathroom when one is farthest from reach. This was the case one dark night several years ago when we were on a family road trip, miles from the nearest town. Our daughter Emily Rose was about four, and announced from the back seat that she needed to go to the bathroom. Knowing we were at least fifteen minutes from a viable option, we explained that she could either wait it out, or we could pull over so she could go outside. Her response was quick and decisive.
“There are two kinds of people in this world,” Rosie said, “People who go to the bathroom on the side of the road, and people who don’t. I am the second one.”
Once we recovered from laughing until our sides ached, I began to think about how Rosie’s philosophy could apply to many different situations. From that point on, I have mentally created all kinds of categories about people, narrowing them neatly into two buckets, those that do “X” and those that don’t. People who will clip their nails at their desk. People who won’t kill spiders. People who will tell you if you have black beans in your teeth. People who won’t.
Up until today, I fell under the category of “a person who will not do crafts.” I’d rather drink a glass of clumpy milk than set foot inside a Hobby Lobby. It’s hard for me to even say those two words together without faking some kind of weird, Fargoesque accent where I say, “Habbie Labbie” and make a gagging signal. The few times I’ve been inside a Habbie Labbie, it’s been due to a school project meltdown, or a sudden urgent need for a glue-stick, but it’s never because I’m there to bedazzle a sweatshirt. The few times I have forced myself to enter the terrifying doors of a Habbie Labbie, I’ve been thoroughly overwhelmed by it. Between the mysterious wooden cutouts of cats and the like, to the unnecessary amounts and sizes of easels, to all of that scrap-booking nonsense, I have to practice deep cleansing breaths of foul potpourri and eucalyptus just to get out of there without a full-fledged panic attack.
And then you have the women with curious choices of accessories (hair and otherwise) who actually go there for sport, dragging around little bedazzled kids hyped up on Sour Patch Kids. Those women sniff me out, scanning me from head to toe, wondering how I had the audacity to enter their place of worship without a single bit of bling on my person, or at the very least a baseball cap with a glittery cross on it.
So I keep my head down and wander the aisles, humming along nervously to the canned contemporary Christian/patriotic music, winding my way through aisles of fuzzy pompoms and fluorescent poster board, clueless to the whereabouts of the gosh-darned glue-sticks. Finally I locate a spinster wearing a Habbie Labbie apron and flashing, four-leaf clover earrings, and she carefully leads me through a sea of craft crap to the vast selection of glue-stick options. By the time I check out, I’ve developed an eye twitch that lasts for days, reminding me never to return.
So this morning at breakfast, as I retold the story of a good friend who’s boyfriend made home-made sugar scrub for her for this Christmas, Emily Rose, now 9, perked up.
“Oooh, let’s make some!” she said, clapping her hands.
Inside, I cringed, fearful that this journey would land us inside a crafts store, searching for gingham jar covers. But it’s the holidays, and what I felt I missed out on this year was enough travel-free, tv-free, noise-free time with my daughter, so I took this as a sign.
We started poking around online and found a few simple recipes, all easy enough to make, and presented in simple jars with simple labels. Hmm. Getting a little ballsier, I ventured over to Pinterest for a quick peek. I’m terrified of this Pinterest. The last thing I need is another thing to suck away more of my time and, God forbid, invite me into the dark world of crafting. Yet, we found some extremely cool salt scrub photos. Things seemed doable and even – dare I say it?- cute. Hmm…
I ventured out to our neighborhood grocery store and purchased 3 huge boxes of coarse Kosher salt, a large bottle of olive oil, and several lemons. Rosie stayed home with my husband to prepare our work station, and when I returned, we walked across the street to snip rosemary from our neighbor’s massive rosemary bush, vowing to return the favor of stolen rosemary with our first batch of salt scrub.
Exhibit A: Emily Rose grates up lemon zest like a pro, having the time of her life. For those of you observant enough to notice that she’s wearing a shirt with a glitter heart on it, please note that the glitter heart was not a result of a Habbie Labbie t-shirt project. You love it? I love it. I got it at Ross.
Exhibit B is the finished product. Emily Rose made the labels, which read: “Cozy Rosie’s lemon rosemary salt scrub.” At this point you’re probably wondering if Rosie is wearing a glittery hair accessory. No, friends, that is our Christmas tree, which we may just leave up all year. (My husband actually suggested that today, and I think he was partially serious).
We took the first batch across the street to give to the two girls that we steal rosemary from on a regular basis. I strutted like a proud mother hen, instructing Rosie to be careful with the glass jar as if she had a mason jar filled with liquid gold. I sort of regret not walking over in an apron.
One of the neighbor girls answered the door as we were about to leave the jar at their doorstep. Her hair was wet and she’d just hopped out of the shower, a little startled at our random visit. Rosie explained what we’d made, touting the benefits of skin-softening while also making one’s house smell wonderful, while I considered Rosie’s promising future in Mary Kay sales. When the girl asked Rosie where we got the recipe, Rosie proudly said, “The Internet!” before I could answer, “Oh, it’s an old family recipe we’ve been making for years.” We strutted back home, my chest still puffed up from the Norman Rockwellian feeling of it all, and proceeded to make several more batches until we drained the house out of olive oil and lemons.
At one point during our assembly-line production, I asked Rosie what she liked about our project.
“It’s an exercise in bonding!” she said, then scrunched up her brow and laughed. “But wait, we’ve been bonding for the past nine years. It’s not like we need it!”
But we did need it. We had a wonderful time working together, and figuring out something new. Not to mention, I was the first to sample our finished product, and my before and after elbow softness test tells me I should have been salt scrubbing a long time ago.
There are two kinds of people in this world. Those who will dip their toe carefully into the world of home-made projects, and those who will not. While you won’t see me prancing through Habbie Labbie any time soon, you may see me poking around a little on Pinterest.