“This is my least favorite part of Irish dance, you putting my wig on.”
She doesn’t mean for it to sting, that’s not how my daughter’s mind works, but it does. This is my favorite part. She has always been tender-headed and independent and so it has been years since I’ve been allowed to brush her hair. It has gotten so much thicker, no longer a scraggly, thin mess, it falls in a beautiful curtain of dark waves down her back.
There is something about brushing someone’s hair. It is practical and intimate, an act of trust to let someone brush your hair, an act of love to do the brushing. As a girl, hours were spent at sleepovers and summer camp brushing each others hair. “I love your curls.” “I love how smooth your hair is.” “Your hair is sooo pretty, can I brush it?” “Can you French braid?”
Oh those French braids! When she started dancing her hair was supposed to be in two neat French braids, but I can’t braid. I understand the concept, but my fingers are too clumsy. With bravado I sent her to the salon or a neighbor’s for the braids, proud of myself that I wasn’t putting undo pressure on myself. “Being a good mother isn’t about being able to do things for your child, it’s about understanding your limits,” I proclaimed to anyone who would listen, but mainly to myself.
She is taller than I am. So now, I stand on a stool behind my baby. I brush her hair for as long as she will allow. I gently (but never gently enough) put it in two ponytails, and then two buns. I lift the wig with it’s fake curls over her own hair and attach it with bobby pins.
She dances off, making sure the wig is secure.
This is my favorite part.