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Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Ten minutes and Twelve dollars - A bargain for relaxation.

My nine-year old daughter has been asking for a "Momma - Isabella" day.  So last Saturday we agreed to take a trip to the mall.  I had a specific budget in mind for us to make sure we didn't go too crazy.  (It's been a long time since I've stepped into a mall.) We enjoyed breakfast together at Chick-fil-A then embarked on our journey.  Isabella had a plan to look at clothing at Crazy 8, hit the Bath and Body Works Shop, and check out the assortment of fragrances at the Macy's counter.  Anything else that looked interesting was also fair game.  Our trip would involve stopping for lunch at some point and end with browsing through Barnes and Noble.  I never anticipated that my greatest find of the day would come from a make shift "spa" set up in a nook next to the walk way.

As Isabella and I walked toward the Crazy 8 Clothing Shop, a gentleman invited us to have a "free sample" chair massage.  Well, I knew that this tactic was designed to encourage customers to book appointments for other spa treatments.  However, my aching back and tight neck muscles decided for me.  I agreed to the "sample" massage.  One word:  Awesome!  At the end of this 5 minute sample, I was shown a card indicating the prices for additional minutes.  Questions were not possible...as I did not speak the language of my masseuse and he did not speak English. I politely thanked the gentleman and told him I may return later.  Another gentleman who was rounding up future customers gave me a stern look and absolutely no smile. I'm sure he hoped I would purchase a spa treatment.

Well, Isabella and I continued with our trip.  She found two great t-shirts on sale ($2.99 and $4.99) that I agreed fit into our budget.  After our purchase, I told Isabella, "Let's go back to that chair massage area.  I'm going to go ahead and get the ten minute treatment."  Isabella looked at me as if I had three heads, but respectfully followed me back to the little nook where two other customers were already enjoying complete relaxation.  I handed the masseuse $12.00 and positioned myself in the massage chair.  What followed was the most amazing, yet sometimes exhausting, deep tissue massage.  I had knots and tight muscles that screamed defiantly and dared the masseuse to banish them forever.  They were "knotty" little buggers that held tight.  I willed them away. 

I worried that my time would be over too soon and I would be left uneven.  (O.K.  Here's a little OCD coming out.  But you know what I mean.) However no worries were necessary.  Ten minutes is a long time when your muscles are being worked out.  The massage was one of the most perfectly choreographed sessions I have ever encountered.   At the end of the message, the masseuse ran his hand down my spine and I felt every vertebra release.  I was stretched through gentle range of motion and I breathed contentedly. 

I thanked the masseuse and was astonished that I felt better already.  I knew I was aching and had knotted up muscles, but I didn't realize how much I needed to relax.  It was a physical reminder of how often moms avoid taking care of themselves.  Everyone needs to take time to enjoy a few moments of peace where the tension can melt away.  And for me it just happened to arrive in the form of a non-English speaking masseuse who was advertising his spa business in the midst of a busy mall.  I enjoyed every minute!

Take care of yourselves, and never be afraid to try something different.  Being fearless can have it's rewards!
And for goodness sakes, be kind to each other.  We're all struggling in some way, shape or form.