I dread brushing Little Thing’s hair every morning.
I brush and braid her luscious, long locks before our nighttime snuggle and reading ritual every evening, but upon awakening she looks like a kitten ensnared in 100 spools of thread.
To exacerbate matters, she’s a sneezy disaster, so sticky snot spots stitch her tangled tresses into a knotted hair afghan.
What slays me every damn morning is I break her tiny heart because I’m hurting her, only for the sake of a knot-free mane.
As a little girl, no pain compares to brush torture.
Even now, I shudder remembering the styling savagery executed by my own mother and older sisters on me when I was Little Thing’s age.
My oldest sister, the main culprit, would brush my hair and practice her French braiding skills on my tender scalp. To begin, she spritzed Johnson and Johnson’s No More Tears detangling spray onto my towheaded dome. A fug plume descended over the family room. While I was discombobulated by the malodorous fumes, she would attack me with a brush before I could protest. The yanking triggered salty, hot tears to slide down my face.
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“Stop it! That hurts!” I’d sob.
She would continue, shushing me.
Back then, I thought she was doing it on purpose.
Knowing (hoping) now that wasn’t my sister’s intent, I hate to think Little Thing would think me capable of a similar malicious objective.
Despite an impressive armory of weapons at my disposal–a no tangle brush, an upscale detangling leave-in conditioner spray, and a gentle hand–Little Thing’s tears, a mix of pain and heartache, burst from her brown eyes as soon as the brush ensnares in the first tangle trap.
Her little mind doesn’t grasp why her mama, the person who loves her the most, is causing her distress.
Thus every morning, we cry. Together. Heartbroken.
Recently, it struck me that I’d rather it stay this way.
But I want this to be her worst pain.
Her concept of the world has no grasp of the maxim: “Little people, little problems. Big people, big problems.”
In the coming years, her limited concept of pain will expand.
I have no control over future cat fights with her friends, ugly remarks from bullies, or breakups with plus ones. Nor over grief, sickness, or disasters she may face.
No one and nothing will care about her pain the way that I do.
If I could just hide the pain that this world harbors a little longer from her, then I would willingly clutch a brush, sob while she sobs, and control her tears until time’s end.