“Mommy, you put my hair back in a ponytail, pwees?” my little three year old asks.
I put down what I was doing and look at her so lovingly. See, my little honey’s hair grows so slowly. It’s fine, wispy and there’s such little of it. She rarely asks me to do anything with her hair, preferring instead the “gypsy/beach-girl tousled” look.
“Sure,” I say, because this is the only thing I can say to such angelic sweetness.
I slowly brush her hair. I linger, gently running the brush and my fingers through her little, fine curls. I’m sitting behind her – me on the couch, her standing in front of me – and my heart is full.
“How rarely I get to linger like this – looking at the back of her head so close,” I say to myself. Seeing her from a new angle is breath-taking. A new angle for noticing how precious, how beautiful, what a gift she is.
As I brush her hair, I’m now thinking of the generations of moms and daughters who have sat just like this. A morning ritual. An evening ritual. Private, sacred ritual between mom and daughter. Slowly, sensually, sweetly connecting. I’m not thinking of the struggles or stress between moms and daughters. I’m thinking of these still moments of being close, holding my daughter’s sacred, sweet head in my hands, slowing down, connecting.
Something in me knows this won’t always be the case – there will be struggles and knots in her hair, doors closed, her preferring to be alone rather than with her current favorite person: me.
But we have this moment right now. This sacred moment right now. And somehow we are a part of feminine circle that’s as ancient as human beings, moms and daughters.
I breathe this moment in and out. I breathe in the smell of her. I caress her little head, noticing its shape and bumps. I gently pull back her hair into a tiny pony tail.
“finished,” I say.
“You look lovely,” I say, admiring the blonde and browns weaving together like wheat one last time before she turns around.
She takes her fingers and traces the new ponytail a few times, studying it, marveling in it. She looks up up at me, eyes completely full of delight. “Thank you, mommy. You my best mommy,” she says. She hugs me and then runs off to the bathroom and steps on the stool to see this new look. I’m sitting on the couch, still feeling the heat from her hug while feeling the coolness of the air where she used to be standing in front of me.
“This is where the holy shows up,” I think to myself. Right here in this moment. Putting down what isn’t important, what can wait for a moment, and seeing the invitation I have to delight in the ordinary and to tenderly connect.
And just like the cool empty space where she was standing, these moments are here and then gone. I also know that moments like this endure, that they are the ones that are slowly being weaved into who my daughter is and she will draw from when I am gone some day.
Thich Nhat Hanh said, “The miracle isn’t walking on water. It’s walking on this green earth.”
Yes, he is right.
The miracle is pausing to be present,
to give our presence,
to show up,
to let go of keeping our fears at bay,
to let go of the illusion of control,
to let go of the belief we have all the time in the world,
to delight in this green earth and the people we get to see every day,
to see it all as a gift and an invitation into the holy,
to embrace this moment and linger with whoever is asking you to see them, to really see them, with tenderness, with gentleness…for a moment.
Whenever we can. Whenever we wake up to see such a holy invitation. And that is enough.
Blessings of lingering,
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