Take Time to Brush Her Hair

I’ve used this yellow hair brush since the days when I wore dresses every day to school and would kneel on the linoleum floor for my mom to brush my hair into “some up and some down.” Those memories with my mom were some of the best one-on-one time in a family full of children, lunches to pack and laundry to fold.

I graduated to a curling iron, and my mom’s hands were freed. I vied for time in front of the mirror to find my own style, even if it was the same feathered one everyone else wore. My worst hair day was not one when I had bad hair at all but when I blamed my sister for not leaving me enough time to curl it for a family picture. The ugliest part of this picture is not my hair; its the disgruntled scowl I’m wearing.

Whenever they would let me, I brushed my own girls’ straight hair into silky ponytails, too. My baby shower advice to moms of girls: “Take time every day to brush your daughter’s hair.” Eventually, they will fight it; they will move on. And when they do, it won’t feel so much like freedom that you’ve been given, but that you’ve lost something you’re trying to hold on to.

That battle of wills began for us, too. I let the first one go. But when it started with my youngest daughter, I gave her the yellow brush and encouraged her to use it. They both did okay, but when they glimpse their tangled mess of hair in past elementary school candid shots, they wish I’d never let them leave the bathroom. At least they are smiling in those pictures.

Recently, my hair dryer died. That meant sharing time in front of the mirror. The kids bought me a new one for Christmas, and I went back to my own bathroom to do my hair. Last week their dryer died, too. So we’re back together with all the girls in front of the mirror doing our hair.  Some Sundays my youngest even wants me to brush her hair and put “some up and some down.”

And I’ll hold on to that as long as I can.


  1. Anna
    May 3, 2010

    Your girls must like having their hair brushed. My girls still wail and screem – as gentle as I try. We even have a similar (white, not yellow) favorite brush that they take turns with. I’d be happy to swap them though… I love it when they brush my hair.

  2. Camille
    May 21, 2010

    Thank you for the reminder to see and recognize the sweet moments–before they are gone only to be remembered. It is nice to be reminded to take those “pictures of the heart” to store up for when they can no longer be taken, only reviewed and remembered.

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