LET'S GET SOCIAL
Thursday
May222014

Bad hair daze

Mom and me, during one of my haircuts. Note the fear on my face.Tonight, even though spring is in full swing and it’s warmer than it’s been in a while, my nine year old son asked me to blow his hair dry for him after his shower. As I ran my fingers through his hair, hot air tickling his face, I saw his look of utter contentment and had a flashback: me standing in my mother’s bathroom and her doing the same for me at that age.

Since that time, I’ve been to countless hairstylists who’ve dried my hair for me—from cheap cuts in strip malls to fancy blow out bars with menus. As a “curly girl,” it’s always a treat to have my hair straightened, as are occasional head massages and deep conditioning treatments. But tonight I realized, with a pang of longing and nostalgia, that almost nothing has ever felt better or been more comforting than standing in my pajamas, feeling the love from my mother’s hands as she tried not to burn me with her antique Norelco hairdryer with the comb attachment.

The part of the memory that I have tried to block is the haircuts my mom used to also give me. Not just a straight trim—she overconfidently believed she could give me the latest Dorothy Hamil or Lady Diana hairdo. And with her lack of training and my curly hair brushed out into waves, you can imagine the outcome. I only noticed recently while looking through old photos that I wasn’t actually as unattractive of a child as I had felt at the time. Underneath the horrible haircuts, I was actually kind of cute.

My mom also offered to cut my son’s hair for him when he was younger but I firmly declined. She then encouraged me to do it for him myself. “But I don’t know how to cut hair,” I argued on deaf ears amidst grumbling that I like to waste money.

Thank you, Mom, for everything you have done and still do for me. I can never repay you, even if I wasted all the money in the world. And my dear son with a great looking head of hair….you’re welcome.

 

Wednesday
May072014

Under the bridge

Not my troll, but still cuteMy nine year old son looked alarmed when I told him he had “Troll toes” after his bath tonight. He thought it was a condition of some kind, but I explained that when I was his age, I had a big picture book of fairy tales that I used to read over and over again. Alongside the story of the Three Billy Goats Gruff was an illustration of the Troll who lived under the bridge. He had bulging eyes, scaly skin, a few hairs on his bald head, and unforgettable toenails that were long and yellow.

Ever since then, whenever I see unkempt or overgrown toenails, the Troll of my childhood pops out of from under the bridge of my memory and comes to life. My son nodded thoughtfully, understanding my association. I know that he, like me, has pored over the pages of his picture books, pausing at the illustrations, savoring them and making them part of his understanding of the world.

In an increasingly digital age, I’m still a sucker for the traditional picture book. To me, there’s something beautiful about the way the ink sets on a page of a book, one that starts to fray over time from repeat usage. There’s something exciting in the cracking sound of hardback book binding and satisfying in the thud of flipping it shut. I love the feel of more than just turning the pages—it’s the imprinted letters, foils, endpapers and jackets. I think beautiful books are works of art to treasure, and I still buy them even though my kids are moving past the age where they read them.  

I also wonder if I would still remember Troll toes if there were images I saw on a screen, competing with the countless others I’ve seen throughout my life. It was those actual pages that brought him to life for me, and, thankfully, all these years later encouraged my son to go find a nail cutter. The sad part is, since I don’t have it saved somewhere virtually or in real life, I don’t remember the name of the book, even though I can envision the white cover and recall the drawing with vivid detail. Does anyone out there know which one I’m talking about? I’d love to have a copy again.