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The Sleepy Eye Herald Dispatch
  • The strands of childhood

  • My daughter, Maddie, had talked of cutting her hair for months before I consented to it.
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  • My daughter, Maddie, had talked of cutting her hair for months before I consented to it.
     
    When she first brought it up I tried to talk her out of it. But the reasons for keeping her long hair seemed only to keep me happy. I slowly came to the realization that I was approaching a parenting milestone–of gracefully letting go just a little bit more–when I calmly gave my consent.
     
    Needless to say, she was happier to see it go than I was. Asking her to wash it and brush it daily took an act of congress.
     
    I took her to the salon and we had 10 inches removed. She smiled proudly holding up a 10 inch pony tail as I snapped a picture while holding back tears.
     
    My issue really, had nothing to do with her hair at all. It’s that the list of things I have left of her childhood is becoming shorter. These strands signified a very big ending for me and a new beginning for her.
     
    Before she was born, I created the image of my little girl in my head, having long, soft hair that I could brush and braid and put up in fancy hairstyles. However, for as long as I can remember, she’s always howled whenever she saw me coming with a brush or comb. One little snarl always resulted in her howling at the moon.
     
    Still, for nine years, I clung to MY dream that someday we would sit in our pajamas brushing out each other’s hair and having long talks about boys, dreams and adventures.
     
    Cutting it off seemed like severing some irreplaceable link to the past. Silly as it may seem, a mother’s heart thinks like that.
     
    Thankfully, the little girl of my “dreams” is not the young lady I have been blessed with. For as long as Maddie has been alive she has uniquely and passionately taken a different path than what I expected.
     
    Take, for example, the day she was born.
     
    She was delivered by C-section and I remember the doctor saying, “You’re not supposed to be able to cry, you’re not even born yet!” when only her head was out of my belly while the doctor suctioned out her nose.
     
    She wears neon green shirts with neon orange shorts. Sometimes, if the mood hits her, she will wear two different pairs of shoes–“just because.” She has even been known to wear boots with her shorts this summer, something that nearly sends Hubby into cardiac arrest.
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    This summer I have been forced to take note that my daughter is evolving from a little girl to a young lady. That leaves no question that it is my duty and obligation to let her grow up.
     
    In Maddie’s pursuit of independence, I’m learning that sometimes it is necessary to let things go; simply for the reason that they are getting too heavy.
     

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