Have I mentioned that it is my favorite ritual? Going to the mikvah? The act of preparing oneself for a transition. Preparing. Not by adding to in order to mask -- makeup, clothes, hair gel. Stripping down to the essence -- making sure there is no barrier between the self and the water. It is a ritual I take very seriously. I spend at least a 1/2 hour removing make up, nail polish, clipping nails, removing dirt, combing my hair. Then I spend 1/2 hour soaking in the bathtub. Once I get to the mikvah, I go over the checklist they have to make sure I have left nothing out. Then I take a warm shower, wash my hair, re-comb it and then, only then, I am ready.
Thursday was mikvah day. I did all the usual preparations. It was especially nice because Rob took the kids out of the house so that I could have a relaxing and serene preparation. Once at the mikvah, and after the final prepping, I rang the bell and slipped the sign "Ready" under the door. Unusual Item 1: It happens that I needed to wait four more minutes before I could immerse as it was not yet nightfall. The time came.
I entered the mikvah area. Unusual Item 2: I forgot to put the little paper sandals on. Not a big deal, but I have never forgotten to put them on before. I descended down the stairs and into the water. It was, of course, warm and welcoming. I immersed the first time and said the bracha. I immersed again, waited to here the familiar "kosher" indicating that I had immersed correctly, but instead was greeted with, "Um, did you wear..." then she pointed to her eyes. "Come up and look in the mirror," she said gently.
Unusual Item 3: Leaving the mikvah after one immersion. I walked up the stairs, silently. Ran to the mirror--oh yeah, baby! I looked like Alice Cooper! Black running down my face. Quickly, I wiped and cleaned and wiped again. Done! I walked briskly back out to the mikvah. Down the stairs, into the water, and heard, "Dip two more times, no bracha." I immersed two more times. "Once more," she said. I immersed a third time and was done.
Wow! I have never had that happen before and I hope I never do again. How embarrassing!!!