When I was a child I did not understand the female adult comments directed towards me, “Why don’t you fix that hair?”
The day my grandmother and mother took charge of my hair was totally devastating to me. Could I ever step back outside? My care-free, non-attention getting hair, went from shiny and straight, to a curly permanent mop. Grandmother and mother stood back and looked at their finished handiwork with smiles on their faces, smothering me with ooh’s and ah’s. I was horrified.
A few days after I received the gift of the curly do we drove out to my aunt’s farm. I walked into the farmhouse, visited with my much-loved aunt, and back out the door I went. What a glorious day. I set out to once-again explore that farm, running wild, with freedom in my head. I climbed the ladder to the hayloft, playing target practice with my male cousins, who were armed below the loft with the rock-hard corncobs that had been put up for animal feed. I chased after the cows, ran the hills, and then I crawled around in the (dry) pig pens. The low-to-the ground pig houses were fun, like little mazes. Surprising to me, dry pig lots did not seem to stink. I was in heaven. When I headed back to the house, somehow I did not look dirty, but really, would I have cared? All of it had been a treat.
After that long and humid August day in Southern Missouri, we rode home in my grandparent’s car. My grandfather drove, with my brother, who never was interested in running wild on a farm, in the center of the front seat, with my father to his right. I was ushered into the middle of the back seat, with grandmother on my left, mother on my right. The windows were rolled up. The luxury of the air conditioner, which I seldom experienced in my young life, was billowing cool refreshing air throughout the car.
We had been travelling on the gravel road for only a mile when my grandmother leaned towards me and took an audible sniff. She cut right to the bone, in her outspoken nature (that I miss each and every day), “Pew-eeee, you stink! What have you been doing, rolling in the pig pen?” Well, yes, I have. She wasted no time with her orders, “Everyone, roll your windows down!”
And down the dusty road we traveled.
The pretty curly hair didn’t fit too well that day.
Parents, I clean up pretty nicely, mind-you, but when I am working on my farm, my destiny, the muck boots and work clothes are donned, and the fear of dirt is unheard of. It pretty much was meant to be.
Let your children love what they love. It makes for splendid memories.