Me, five years old. Maybe four. The whining reaches a fever pitch. My mom reaches for her scissors and says this is the day it is all getting cut off. No more heat rashes on my neck, no more tangles, but also no more thick, long hair and now I look like a boy. A very well-styled boy, but this indignity makes me cry.
Later, as a teenager, she talks me into coloring my hair. I tried to be blonde. And permed. It was the 80's after all. Eventually, I became a lady of flowing, long, straight hair. No style. I think how this must not be exactly what my mom imagined. She went to beauty school to create beauty, and here was this daughter who insisted on having a style-less style. Or insisted on having anything other than what her mother wanted for her....a , messy room, the wrong friends, a messy house, the wrong boyfriend.
I wonder sometimes when women long for daughters, what they are thinking. I know when I longed for daughters, and picked out their names in high school, and wrote out numbers by letters to see if it spelled the name of the man I would marry, and thought we would go shopping together and I would dress her up and we would be best friends.
How un-Pragmatic of me. My first daughter was the one I pinned all these expectations on. But she wouldn't nurse well...it took us 3 months to get on solid ground. We struggled. We struggled later, too, and she has turned out alright. I really do like her, especially when she asks me to sing with her. My second daughter, the child of my dreams, has her own ideas about everything. We don't agree (gasp! that was not part of the plan!). But to my surprise, I like it. She is wonderful and has great ideas at almost-15. They have been daughters who have largely tolerated my whims to teach them knitting or sewing or other things they really weren't interested in, or to buy them gifts that reflected my wishes for them rather than their wishes for themselves.
Then along comes Serena, and the issue I was really not expecting. When my older two were small, I happily hummed and sewed and made them lots of beautiful clothes....I smocked and embroidered and studied French hand sewing. They happily wore anything I made. So, I naively believed that Serena would be the same way. As it turned out, this was not so. Anything I made her, she said she liked, and proceeded to never wear it. She had her own sense of style that involved anything with a character or word or whatever she wasn't supposed to wear at school. Smocked dress? I'm not wearing that mom. I will make you cajole, cradle, cunningly coerce me into wearing it. Dress that mom let me pick out the fabric and went to hours of trouble making? (pink puppies, you all! How much cuter can you get?) Not wearing. Hand me my Dora shirt.
Oh, the agony, the despair....do you remember that song from Hee-Haw? To have a mom who knits and sews and makes and then have those efforts be spurned! Argh! (And we won't even talk food. If it doesn't look much like a cheddar bunny, it will probably get a thumbs down. that doesn't stop me from trying and trying to feed her good food.)
I realized she is the child of my spirit. She is the girl who will wear her hair long, although she knows her mom will cut it any way she wants.
Except, maybe a little shorter.