Wednesday, January 13, 2016

Photo A Day: Three of a Kind

As anyone who has ever met my daughter will attest, she has “wild and crazy hair.” It is very blond, it is very curly, and she has an awful lot of it. The result is pretty much a riot of tangles that is constantly in her face if it is not tamed and restrained in some way. So every morning I wrestle the front half of it into submission using one of these:

There is an entire drawer in my bathroom devoted to such things. Clips, barrettes, bows, flowers, big elastics, small elastics, teeny-tiny elastics, bobby pins, hairpins, headbands, and even a snood or two. Anything that can be used to grab onto that wild mane and keep it out of her face. I have a stash in my purse, a stash in my car, and a stash in pretty much every room of the house, as protection against a sudden hair crisis.

Her hair gives me great sympathy for (and understanding of) every mother who ever uttered the words, “Get your hair out of your pretty face.”

This afternoon, before she goes to dance class, I will take the task of getting her hair out of her pretty face one step further: I will somehow force it into a bun. Although her studio does not require hair to be pulled back for her class, my husband’s dance-studio-owning-for-over-a-century family has drilled it into my head that a ballet class requires a bun. So I will brush her hair within an inch of its life, slick it with gel, twist it until her eyebrows move, secure it with an elastic or two, and stab it with a dozen hairpins, then cover the whole shebang with a rhinestone snood.

And when she comes home from class, the first thing she’ll do is to pull out every pin, yank out the hair elastics (and usually a good deal of hair as well), and let it explode around her head like a corona.

It’s fabulous.

It is such a perfect parallel to her personality: she is wild and unrestrained by nature, a whirlwind in the shape of a 4-year-old. She needs to be moving at all times, usually in the way of everyone in her path, and constantly exploding with energy and enthusiasm. Everything about her is dramatically larger than life. And yet, she is able to be restrained when necessary. She sits quietly in her preschool classroom (most of the time), she behaves herself in church (usually), she remembers her manners when we’re at a restaurant (nearly always). But she is happiest and most herself when we discard those restraints and allow her to be her wild and crazy self.

I appreciate that she is able to accept restraints when necessary. No doubt that will serve her well in life, as there are many times when we, as adults and as members of society, need to hold ourselves back and rein in our words and actions. We do it to keep the peace, to avoid hurting others, and to wait until time and tact can soften our initial instincts. But it is always a relief and a joy when the time comes when we can throw off those societal fetters and just be wild and crazy.

Three of a kind.

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