This Motherhood Gig

My girls had their hair cut yesterday.

Jane (8) woke up, announced that she wanted to chop six inches off of her hair and asked me to make the appointment.

She didn't have to ask twice. I don't choose to battle my girls about their hair because, well, it's THEIR hair but I was really hoping they would agree to get haircuts before all of our travels this summer. Ana (11) agreed to have her bangs cut and the rest evened-out.

Jane did, indeed, get EIGHT inches cut off the back of her hair. She loved her new haircut so much that she kept running around asking people if they wanted to "fluff" her hair.

This morning, she got up at 5:45 because she was so excited about going to school with her new haircut. "I'm so PRETTY!" she kept saying in wonderment. And then she'd ask if she could brush her hair again.

Uh, yeah.

Ana got her bangs trimmed and the rest of her hair shaped but she was less enthusiastic about her new look. She alternated between wishing she had gotten a drastic cut like Jane's and thinking that her bangs were too short. This morning she seemed near tears at the thought of walking into her classroom. I kept trying to bolster her confidence by telling her beautiful she looked and how nice it was to see her eyes and those amazing eyelashes but she kept blinking back tears.

On the way to school, we chatted aimlessly about a few of her friends and I said something about one of them and there was a bit of silence and then she said, "But SHE'S got a boyfriend."


Oh, my love.

Oh, Ana.

And you know, I sat there and the protective Mama-Bear feelings rushed right through me like an adrenaline rush. Because the lesson I wanted to give her, I couldn't. There is no way to reassure her that there will be so many more important things that build her self-worth--so many things that have to do with WHO SHE IS--than the arbitrary bestowal of some fifth grade boy's affection.

I could have said it but I didn't. Because I remembered exactly what she was feeling. And because I remembered that I was about 30 when I learned that lesson.

This motherhood gig--why is it that no one tells you how much more painful it's going to be to go through these life lessons the second time around?


TheOneTrueSue said…
"This motherhood gig--why is it that no one tells you how much more painful it's going to be to go through these life lessons the second time around?"

Oh, I can so relate. My oldest is having best friend troubles - the little girl who lives next door, who she has been palling around with for ages, is suddenly excluding her - more interested in her gymnastics friends - and Sarah is heartbroken to be left out in the cold. I'M heartbroken for her. There's nothing I can really say to make it better either. She sees the other little girls playing in the backyard next door, and when she talks to them over the fence they tell her she can't play with them because they are talking about important gymnastics things she wouldn't understand. It makes me want to give the other girls a good spanking.

I try to help her find other friends to play with, other things to do, but I can't make it not be what it is - this friend she loves is apparently through with her, and it's a very real hurt.

I saw the other girl's mother (who is actually a very good friend) at a party last night and I had to really fight with myself just to be civil to her, which I know is a childish reaction. It's just that my daughter is the best, sweetest, smartest, tenderest kid in the world (she said without bias) and my mama bear heart is outraged and hurt on her behalf.
Unknown said…
Oh I am so worried about the first time my boy's heart gets broken or even bruised. As you can tell from my blog photos, i am a momma bear for sure.

hug for you and one for Jane.

(and Ana's hair is adorable)
Unknown said…
crap, I mixed up their names...thats the way my day is going today.

hug for me?
Lynn said…
Oh I agree!!! Nobody said I'd be this tired or this anxious or this worried. Well maybe they did but nobody could tell you the intensity it would be. I guess it's one of those life lessons we learn AFTER we become a mother ourselves. and why we either love our moms that much more because they did so much or we pull further away from them because we realize how much they didn't do.
A wise friend of mine once said, "The problem is, our children do not want to benefit from what we've learned. They've got to learn it all themselves."
MadMad said…
Oh, honey, it's WORSE the second time round. Way worse.

But damn that haircut is cute.
Mary Ellen said…
The reason nobody tells you how tough it is going to be? Because nobody would do it! Well, maybe we would, but it's really better not to know about all the heartaches.

I was rushing through blogs and forgot to tell you that I LOVED your fragments. You go right ahead and fragment any old day you want, sister!

And singing washing machines rock.
Miri said…
Oh, Ana. Oh, dear sweet girl. And, you, Barb, get my motherhood badge of honor for handling this with grace. We just can't spare them.

But summer vacation is on the way and I hope Ana will spend it building self-esteem and moxie that's completely unrelated to fifth- or sixth-grade boys. Please let it be so.

Dang but Jane looks cute and sassy. Once again I'll say she'd fit right in with my girls. Anytime.
Mama Ava said…
No kidding...what is it with kids these days--growing up, becoming their own person, getting lives...didn't they get the memo that they were supposed to be MINE forever?

*sigh* Your girls are just lovely.
DK said…
Hurricane. She cracks me up. And looks great.

Ohh, Ana. Poor sweet Ana. That's a horrible lesson to learn, and most of us grownups are still learning it. And boys are just so dumb sometimes. Bleh.
I sympathize. Here in Cold Scream Harbor, we are deep in the teen years. Tho it's a cliche to compare one's teen to an alien abduction story, that pretty much sums up how it feels. Somehow, overnight, our girl went from a science-loving, math-happy, cheerful student to the kind of girl who is distant and bored by everything.