I’m the youngest of three girls, so my mom had her hands full. However, she always made time for just me. I remember more vividly than our trip to Disney and California, the quiet time, just before bed, that my mom would spend with me most nights. One of my favorite things to do was play with my mom’s hair. It was dark and curly, and I’d do everything from side ponytails to ballerina buns to an “afro,” teasing her hair into a mess. My mom never complained. She let me pull her head this way and that, concocting all kinds of hair-dos.
This was also the time we would talk, about my sisters and school and my wild imagination. I remember feeling centered and calm during this time, after the chaos of the day. And I remember being in awe of my mother’s beauty, a level of admiration that only a child feels for a parent.
Ever since Mae was a newborn, I’ve taken baths with her. When she was a newborn and colicky, our baths were some of the only peaceful moments I had with her. And now that she’s one, I still take a bath with her about once a week. She’s so busy during the day now, waving and blowing kisses to strangers and taking everything out of every kitchen cabinet, that I don’t always get to pause and sit with her as much as I’d like.
Tonight, I had left a hair clip on the side of the tub. After we got into the bath, Mae, of course, picked the clip right up. I showed her how to use it, clipping some hair on top of my head. “Hat,” she said, which is what she calls anything related to the head or hair. And for about five minutes we clipped and unclipped my hair. And then she just started playing with my hair, giggling and smiling at her creations. She did for ten-fifteen minutes, never losing focus (also known as a little toddler miracle).
The days can feel so long, but so many moments I want to freeze and last forever, like that one. Her four-toothed grin, big brown eyes, and soft whispers as she concentrated on brushing my hair.