Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Set Your Hair Free

My niece, Burkelle, is very special. She also goes by the name of "Nug." She is the first niece I ever had, and I even lived across the hall from her for a year during college. We loved to have dance parties.

When Nug was very small, she discovered how to ask interesting questions, a talent she still puts on from time to time, like yesterday. She asked me what a period was. When I tried to shrug the question off by saying it was a way for a woman's body to prepare for a pregnancy, she asked - "Then Aunt Brittany is pregnant?" "No." "Will I have one?" "Actually, that is something only your mommy knows."

Back to the small Nug questions. I think she was about to be 5. She came back from Sunday School and asked me to "Explain Jesus." I tried. A few days later, I was sitting on the couch watching TV, and out of nowhere, the top to a long wooden basket flipped off onto the ground. Tiny Nug rose up, eyes closed, proclaiming "I'VE BEEN RISEN!!!"

Small children listen to what you say, and they watch what you do. They remember, especially if they are girls. Now that Nug is here in Cleveland for a visit, I'm reminded in a new way what an influence I had, or could've had in some respects, on her. Now that I have a daughter, this scares me.

These are some things I want to teach my daughter.

If she is ever watching me do my hair, and it is doing its African Fro-Jewish frizz-Random white person straight pieces, I will never curse it. I would rather go to the park with a greasy ponytail and a daughter without hair anxiety.

On a similar note, I will never angrily comb her hair, sweat dripping as we try to get it ready for church in time.

I randomly want to answer her questions with the most fantastical, imaginative, in no way real answers. And then maybe tell her someday. If she doesn't find me out first (she could probably beat me at Scrabble already. Em is very smart.)

I don't want her to think she has to keep friends who treat her badly, especially when she is down.

I will encourage her to always pick up the things I am scared of. Like worms.

I will teach her to ask daddy to buy mommy a Mastiff.

I wish, want, hope with all my might that she will hide beside her bed with a flashlight until 11:30 pm on a school night reading The Babysitter's Club, or other great works of Literature.

I want to teach her that she can grow tomatoes easily, and then cut up a load of them, put them on a cookie sheet and roast them with olive oil, salt, and pepper, and then throw them in a blender with some cream and make wicked soup. With grilled cheese croutons.

I hope she has a lady professor friend who wears great shoes and gives great advice, some of which she will understand, some of which she will pretend to get but won't really until she matures a bit more and then one day goes "ah..."

I will give her a Bible.

I will give her Journey, Creedence Clearwater, Johnny Cash, Feist,  Patty Griffin, and as many 80's punk rock or Dance Cds as I can.

I will give her pens, paper, crayons, toilet paper rolls, peanut butter, bird seeds, and a smock. And then I will sit with her instead of playing on my iPhone.

Like my mother, I will tell her she is beautiful as much as I can, and take her out of school sometimes just to go out for lunch.

I hope to teach her that it is totally ok to cry, even if you haven't figured out what's wrong yet.

And, like Caitlin Moran with her little girl, I will teach Emilia to say "Damn you, The Patriarchy!" every time she falls down.

God bless my lil' chunker. I hope I make it out of this mommy thing alive. I'm glad I had practice with the smartest, sweetest lil' Nug.

1 comment:

  1. I really love this Lauren! So heartfelt and honest. Thanks for sharing.