photo by Patricia L Brown
My mother used to do this thing, with my hair,
she would put her strong hand on the top of my head and weave her fingers into my thick bangs,
and shake them into a fly-away pile of blonde and brown, shiny and dirty.
and say, looking straight into my eyes,
You are so beautiful.
And I would swat her away and shout at her to stop messing me up, and think of all of the school pictures that showed us, my sister and I, with those same crooked bangs that she would trim with dull scissors, and which always looked like a smile with some of it's teeth missing or a cob of corn only partly eaten, and I would try to smooth them into a straight line in front of the smokey mirror that hung at her height and which only showed me the top of my face, where my eyebrows were still low and mad.
But then, within a matter of days, she would do it again. and again. and again.
I had forgotten that, until yesterday.
When I pushed my hands into my daughters hair, while she picked at her breakfast, still in her pajamas and with her sleepy head, into the bangs that I had cut myself, unevenly, with scissors that I thought I had had sharpened, but probably hadn't, and I said, without even thinking it first, with my eyes trying to catch hers,
you are so beautiful.
and she pushed away my hand and shouted, with her eyebrows low and mad,
MOMMY STOP TOUCHING MY HAIR.
But I'm not going to.