Imagine the 80’s.
Now imagine 80’s hair, bangs to be exact. Nope, EVEN bigger with EVEN more hairspray.
Now imagine 8-year-old me sitting on the edge of the bathtub in our powder blue bathroom as my mom brushes, fluffs, and sprays my bangs into what can only be described as The Feathered Poodle.
There was whining about how much longer I had to wait, complaining that she was hurting me, and endless fidgeting while she tried to finish up as quickly as possible. I know I wasn’t the most agreeable client, heaving exasperated sighs in my mom’s face and ignoring all of her pleas to just sit still. When she accidentally pulled my hair as a result of my inability to follow directions and remain motionless, she had to have felt some smug satisfaction. This is exactly how sorry/not sorry became a thing. Sure, she was sorry, but not as sorry as she said. She did try to warn me after all. I admit I’ve been guilty of this a time or two since having kids, so I know my mom had to feel this way also.
My mom would never have hurt me intentionally, I mean, other than making me look like a circus poodle. She was (and still is) the sweetest, most patient person I’ve ever met, but some tiny part of me knows that she couldn’t help but smirk at my momentary discomfort. I’m sure I had it coming anyway. Despite my adorable appearance (HA!) I could be quite bratty, but only to my mom. That old saying that we hurt the ones we love the most proving true.
My mom liked doing my hair, probably because she was good at it, and maybe that’s why I can’t be bothered. My hair skills are meh at best. She’d spend time separating my stick-straight hair into sections, wrapping it around spongy pink rollers that I’d sleep in, just so I could wake up and have curly hair which would then be a nightmare to brush out. Sometimes she’d braid it in one tight braid at the top of my head and I’d swing it around like a helicopter. While I loved the outcome, I didn’t love the process.
Now that I have two daughters I know what a pain doing their hair can be. Simply hearing the word, “snarls,” gives me PTSD, and must be why I keep it as simple as possible. Their options are: up in a ponytail or down. That’s it. I can’t imagine curling bangs, elaborate braids, or anything else that requires more than two minutes.
I love these moments in parenthood when we get glimpses into what it must have been like for our own parents, the realization that they were human beings, trying their best with kids who made remaining calm and patient impossible at times. Doing my girls’ hair now and having this understanding of what my mom must have felt helps me realize that one day I’ll look back and remember only the happy memories too, like feeling my little one’s silky golden strands between my fingers or her big sister’s perfect curls, pulling them down just to watch them spring back up. I won’t remember the rushed mornings of battling tangled bed-head as we run out the door, and hopefully they won’t either.
In the end, even if my mom was genuinely sorry for accidentally pulling my hair, that feathered poodle look makes me think she got away with the ultimate revenge. Well- played, mom. Well-played.