On My Mother’s Knee

Purposeful Parent Tip:  It’s the little things your child will remember. Make time for them. 

As a young child, I had long brown hair down to my waist. I clearly remember how my mother would compliment my hair much to the dismay of my sisters who were not as blessed as I in that area. Since I was her only daughter with such long locks, she spent many a day brushing it, curling it (with no success I might add) and playing with it.  Those times when I would lie on my mother’s lap and she would stroke my hair so softly over and over made me feel loved, appreciated, and safe.

The day I asked my older sister to cut my hair was probably the first time I ever saw my mother heartbroken. You see, she was visiting her family in South Carolina and I had the urge to cut my hair. I was tired of how long it took to dry and just plain ol’ bored with the same look. Not only did my sister cut my hair to shoulder-length (probably about 10
or so inches), but she curled it so that it actually fell just below my neck.

I was thrilled! I loved my new look and couldn’t wait to show my mom. When she walked in the door, she stopped in her tracks in the hallway and looked at me in shock. “What did you do to your hair?” She could barely get the words out. My excitement quickly turned to regret, for what child wants to hurt their parent?

Throughout my life whenever I got my hair cut, my mom was always asking me why. I don’t know the reason for her affinity to my long hair, but it was clear that she loved it.

In her later years, my mom and my children would spend some time together watching TV. My kids would be sprawled on the floor, my mom would be sitting in her favorite recliner, and I’d be sitting on the floor, resting my head against her knee. Even as a grown woman, I’d close my eyes and try to cement in my head the touch of her hand against my head. I relished that time and was comforted by her gentle touch or pat on my head.

After she passed, in those moments when I thought I’d die from missing her so much, I’d squeeze my eyes shut and try to imagine the feeling of my head nestled in the crook of her knee and her hands going through my hair. While it brought me peace to remember that time, I wondered if there would come a day when I would no longer be able to “feel” her touch in my memory.

As if my mother knew such a day might come, my daughter has begun the same  “tradition” of resting her head in my lap. Her long flowing blonde locks are perfect for playing with and twirling around my fingers, much like my mom would do.

“I love it when you play with my hair Mommy. It makes me feel safe and that you love me,“ said my daughter not long ago.  I was happy to say that I knew exactly what she meant.

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