Yesterday my daughter washed and dried her hair for the first time. She recently had her very first professional haircut and layers were added to her long curls, making it easier to deal with. It’s no longer stringy and separate, or hanging like a long rastafarian’s dreadlocks.
In the car she began telling my husband and I that the reason she wants to do her own hair is because of all the bitching I did while removing the tangles. Sometimes we would go 3 or 4 days without taking on the task, and then it would be an overwhelming nightmare. And I could be mean and nasty during an hour-long detangling session.
I responded to her comments by saying that when I was doing all the bitching I was not looking into the future and realizing that one day I would no longer be doing her hair, that she would grow up and be able to do it herself, that she would not be a little girl any more. And I began to cry, as I am now while I write this.
By the time I told her that I am a terrible mother she was crying, too. My husband was losing his mind, wanting to jump from the car, but he was driving.
It is so difficult to keep your eye on the prize, keeping emotions in check, remembering that there will be a time when children are grown and parents sit home alone, wishing they could have just one more day with their son or daughter at 3 or 7 or 12.
But I knew this already. My son is 21 and I miss everything about him being my little boy. I can cry while walking through a grocery store if I see a mom and her young son alone together, the way Bobby and I used to be.
There is no taking back, there is no returning. There is only this moment and trying to do my best in this very moment. I wish I did my best more often.