Because it was a cool Valentine's Day, I chose a red jacket to wear over my fleece to stand out and get children out of the cars as they arrived at school and later on the playground. I did not need it again until evening when B and I walked around the block and, at 46 degrees with a wet breeze, it was very comforting. Later in the kitchen, I was distracted by something on my shoulder. I reached up and plucked it off. I recognized it immediately. It was a white, curly hair that had once belonged to my mother, as had the red jacket. Yes, it has been through the wash since she last wore it. But somehow it had remained steadfastly inside the sleeve, waiting for my fuzzy fleece to relocate. It may sound silly but it seemed like a very sweet gift. A sad, sweet gift.
Mama died two years ago last Christmas. It does not seem possible that it has been that long since we last talked and touched.
Mama never could do much with her thin, fine hair and relied on others to help her with it. I was just a young girl when I took on much of this responsibility. I remember her sitting on the floor between my feet as I put her wet hair in pink rollers. Then she sat under a bonnet-type, portable hair dryer. When it was dry, I would carefully remove the rollers and comb out the curls and spray, spray, spray on the hairspray to help keep the shape for the day. Later, we would switch to blow dryers and electric rollers. She would complain they were too hot. (There weren't any temperature controls.) After that came the electric curling irons, that she liked to remind us were modeled after the ones she used as a girl that had to be heated on a hot stove. After, I moved away, she had regular beauty shop appointments but anytime we were together, it was just understood that I would still do her hair.
More and more, I see her face in mine. I only pray that I have not only her face, but also her heart.