As soon as my daughter wakes up, she asks, “How many hours did I sleep?” I’ve learned the hard way that it pleases her if she accumulates more than ten hours of sleep. “I think you slept for eleven hours. Come on. Let’s get ready for school.” She heads to the bathroom and into the shower and before she puts one foot on the surface of the tile, she asks,” Will you do a hairstyle for me?” In order to avoid tears at an early hour, I automatically say yes.
She stands on her step-stool as I attempt to braid her hair. It is part of our normal morning routine. As I weave several strands of hair together, she whispers something that makes a permanent impression inside of me, “When I grow up, I want to be a Momma. Just like you.” Her eyes look directly into me and I stand up to attention. She gives me a giant bear hug and her feet skip into her room.
I am still standing looking at the mirror and repeating her words in my head. She skipped into her room at the right moment. There is a single tear down my cheek. I ponder her unequivocal affirmation of what I do for her and myself in the words,”I want to be a Momma.” Part of me couldn’t ignore the obvious metaphor of braiding her hair. As mothers, much of what we weave doesn’t appear extraordinary. It is in the everyday minutae. We try to braid the best for our children. Shuffling them to school. Making certain they ate the right amount of vegetables. Helping with a science fair project. Consoling them when they hurt from a little scrape. Encouraging them to play well with others. Making certain they get enough hours of sleep.
It was one line and a single moment. We went on with our day. I drove her to school and headed back to the house. She doesn’t see me fumbling, but piecing it all together for her. Just like the braid in her hair. And these words contained in it – When she grows up, she wants to be a Momma. Just like me.