I have a secret. I barely ever wash or comb the Girl's hair. After I wash it I put it in braids, and then I leave it for a day, or two, or three, or... well, I've gone more than a week before, and then I notice that she has little bits of dirt building up near the top of her braids. It shows quickly in almost white hair. Often I just brush these out and then re-braid it if I'm in a hurry, and I'm usually in a hurry. Her braids often look messy as a result. But I like to think that it is more of a playing hard since the morning type of messy rather than looking like her mother has neglected her hair for a week. I'm probably fooling no one.
Recently I've seen some little girls with chin length bobs that are adorable. I keep staring at the Girl, and her white halo of hair around her perma braids and wondering if I dare give her one too. I hesitate because if I do, that means I won't be able to tie it up for almost a year, and I might miss those braids. I think about it now and again because the hair that was chopped off last summer is chin length now and comes out of the braids and flies around and if I cut it it would finally be all the same length again. And I think about it because she would still look cute, and like all of those other adorable little girls that have perfect short hair cuts.
And that's where I stop. I don't want her to look like all of the other girls. A day will come when she may want nothing else, but for now, I don't want her to blend in with the other girls. Something in my momma heart feels sad at the thought of my special and unique little girl looking and acting just like everyone else. I want her to look like her, I want her to still be unique and special in appearance, even if that is just generally messy little girl braids, and pony tails, and french braids, and all the other things that we do with it when we have the time, that I then leave in for a week.
She has developed a fierce attachment to another little girl. An OLDER girl of 4, who has pretty sparkly dress up shoes and many pieces of costume jewelry. She lets herself be bossed around and guided by this girl, who really enjoys being in charge of play sessions. (As is the case with most first born children I've noticed.) She adores her. It bothers me. Even when this girls is mean to her, which isn't often, she begs to go and play with her again, seconds after I've sent her home for not playing thoughtfully. She cries all day as if her heart is breaking. I was never one to follow when I was little, or big, and so I feel this sort of heaviness as I watch her. I worry, because that's what mothers do. We worry. I worry as I watch her try to impress her friend, and collapse in embarrassed tears when I veto her unreasonable attempts. I worry when I see her sweet and honest nature collide with a friend who tried to tell her that she would sneak her a cookie but not to tell me. Only she did, because she is still honest. I worry that the lovable easygoing personality that she has will land her in trouble some day when I'm not there to help and stand up to her bossy friends for her.
I know she's only three! But this mother brain isn't entirely logical. And so I pray that I can give her what she needs in order to survive without me. I pray that I can somehow instill in her good character, however elusive that quality may be. And I hold her close as much as she will let me, storing it against the day when she may not want me to anymore.
No one said this parenting thing was going to be a cake walk, but no one warned me about the odd aches that will stab at your heart for small and great reasons, the tiny griefs over such small matters, and the occasional feeling of being powerless where it matters most. This would be the journey of trust that began when I was pregnant with the Boy. When I realized that I could not do this alone, and sobbing prayed for help. Peace came, and with it the ability to struggle through the moments that I am overwhelmed by. His name means God is my helper, partly to remind me that I don't have to do this alone, there is help, and to trust the One who loves him more than I can to help us through.