Every year in April, Rick and I leave the kids at home with his parents and go away for almost a week for a business trip. This year it was in San Diego. While it is business for him it is full trip for me…the whole time. I sleep in, I slowly drink my coffee in the morning, while watching a show that I chose, and primp while getting ready like I used to before kids. Our anniversary is April 14th, my birthday is May 1st, and Mother’s Day comes about a week later; so basically I’d be lying if I said I didn’t enjoy my season of receiving or that I don’t look forward to it every year.
My kids and hubby usually get me trees and spring flowers to plant in my yard as gifts. To some of you this may sound like a terrible present but to me it’s perfect. It often comes wrapped with time alone with my hands in the warm dirt, a clear mind, and only the sound of the birds chirping as I find happy homes for my new “babies”. On other occasions it means time with my wee ones offering their “help” and with me hoping they too will fall in love with process. My trees and plants are gifts that keep on giving. Every Spring I look forward to my pink dogwood blooming and the thoughts of my girls, past and future, that come as the buds open. In the same way, my Weeping Alaskan Spruce stays strong and alive, even in the deepest winter snow, reminding me of my boys.
My parents and in-laws on the other hand, always get me something that fits perfectly and is always useful…CASH. I believe Rick has caught on, but I spend my birthday money a few times while I’m away. Every year, once a year, on this trip, I go to the spa and enjoy a rub down. The one I had this year at the Marilyn Monroe Spa at the Manchester Grand Hyatt Hotel probably topped them all. The best way for me to explain to you how wonderful it was, I think, would be if I compared and contrasted it to another one I have experienced.
I had just finished a relaxing eucalyptus steam and was waiting in the Serenity Lounge in a beautifully soft, white robe, (and provided slippers) and enjoying a cup of warm herbal tea. My masseuse came out to greet me. He was a clean-cut man probably in his mid-fifties with an appropriate amount of gel in his neat hair. He was gently plump which immediately made me feel comfortable, knowing he was used to softness. I felt instantly relaxed and followed him.
Since I’m a storyteller and I like to paint pictures with words, I thought this one would be best in color. When I was a little girl in Sunday school, one of my favorite songs to sing went like this: “Jesus loves the little children, all the children of the world, red, brown, yellow, black, and white they are precious in His sight, Jesus loves the little children of the World”. While I loved looking around at all my little friends smiling and singing along, I did worry that my olive skin toned friend could be feeling left out. Now as an adult, I’m concerned that someone with a severe case of jaundice could be misled by this innocent song, convincing them that they are fine and causing them put off that much needed bilirubin check. More importantly, it always made me remember that we are all beautifully different and the same mold has never been or never will be used twice. It seems that I love each one of my plants and flowers for that very reason. The yellow ones make the purple ones even prettier just because they aren’t purple and the occasional “odd-ball” grabs my attention and extra admiration just because it is unlike the 10 other perfect ones surrounding it.
In much need of some deep relaxation, I anticipated the results of my upcoming massage. I sat in my street clothes, in a room more like a doctor’s office than a spa, as I waited to be received. Moments later, I was greeted by a young, fit, fine specimen of a man, who with all 2% of his body fat, nearly filled the doorway. He called my name. As soon as I stood up I could tell that I was nervous for there were significant body composition differences between ours; with mine being far more palpably soft. While I hoped my young masseuse had many fond memories of time spent with his mother as a child, I hoped that a memory of learning to fold and knead white bread dough wouldn’t be stirred while rubbing my posterior thigh area. I found myself quoting my Spring clothes shopping mantra as I followed him to my room: “I am fearfully and wonderfully made”.
Anyway, when God made me he dipped his paint brush in a color somewhere on the spectrum between “Milky White” an “Ultra Caucasian”. When God was selecting a color for my masseuse he chose a color somewhere between “Moonless Night” and “Rich Expresso” and used it liberally. In addition, being born and raised in West Virginian, I have to work hard to say “hey man” without giving “man” two syllables or showing all my molars when pronouncing my valves with a wide smile. In comparison, my masseuse greeted me with a quick, happy-go-lucky, “eh mon” and led me to the massage room.
I peacefully entered the Marilyn Monroe treatment room and positioned myself prone as instructed under crisp, white sheets that were warmed by the gentle heat of the massage table. My masseuse would carefully expose one extremity at a time, gently folding back the soft sheets. The room was filled with scents of lavender and rose hip and my muscles melted with his deep pressured strokes. In the background I listened to a CD that had to have been titled “Tranquil Morning”, with birds chirping and creeks streaming. There was the occasional moment that I thought the beginning of the Titanic theme song was starting up but it never climaxed. As my massage came to an end, I was concerned that I would be unable to find enough motivation, amongst the relaxation, to physically get off of the table or support my body weight with my limp legs in order to walk out.
I was a “hint” nervous waiting on my Jamaican masterpiece and I was glad my massage table wasn’t heated; I was already equator warm. After hanging my clothes on the backside of the door I slid under the faded black sheets face down and waited. I tried to relax but the CD playing in the background, which could have easily been titled “Monday Night Slow Jams”, wasn’t helping. I answered the knock at the door with an audible “I’m ready” but with an internal “I hope so” that followed. He entered. He rolled the sheet down my back low enough to make me question if the top part of my crack was exposed and began rubbing. The scent of Johnson and Johnson baby oil surprisingly helped me relax. He finished my back and neck and arms and…. it was nice. He then rolled the sheet back exposing my right leg and started working. As he moved up my thigh into my gluteal area I reminded myself that I’ve been in other even more uncomfortable situations in my life time but at the moment could not think of one. He moved on to my left leg but kept my right exposed. I’m sure that in an aerial view of me at this moment, none of us could deny that I wasn’t wearing what I would like to call a black sheet thong.
He stood at my feet with his hands every bit as big as my US 6.5 wides and he rubbed up and down my calves at the same time, inching higher and higher with each stroke until he was undoubtedly focusing on my “thass” area. Up and down he went from toes to calves to thass to waist when swooped his hands out to the sides scooping up a handful of flesh from my bumm before sliding back down. I felt like I was being milked and I knew he wouldn’t stop until I rendered milk from my toes or relaxed. At one point, I began thinking that producing milk may be easier than calming the clinch that was instinctively activated when his big hands slid up the back of my legs and fanned out over my buttocks. I’m sure that if I could have seen him in this moment, I might have mistaken him for Bob Marley singing One Love while delivering his milking strokes. I tried to reconnect with my inner hippie; pretending that what I was experiencing was a beautiful moment of giving and receiving between two souls in this world, but found myself challenged to fully embrace the idea. I did however conclude that I was thankful that I had not bought my mother a gift certificate for Mother’s Day at this facility because she has no inner hippie to even try to connect with. Several strokes later and about the time I was wondering if I had accidentally bought an 80 minute massage instead of 50, he covered me up and said, “Thank you. You are done”.
“I did it!”, I said to myself excitedly. “It was over”…exhale.
So that is how much I enjoyed my massage at the Marilyn Monroe Spa in San Diego California.