Friday, January 29, 2021


As I was standing in front of the mirror this morning, snipping away at my hair ..... I was taken back in time. I used to do the same thing when I was 18. A single mom who couldn't afford to pay attention, much less pay for a hair cut. I do it now because I am loathe to drive 25 miles and mask up for a hair cut.

Back in time, I still lived with my parents. I mention this because my mother had a shop next to their house where she plied her trade and cut hair. You may be wondering why I cut my own hair if my mother, trained in the art of hair cutting, could have done it for me. In answer to that I can only say that I preferred my own method. Of course she had cut my hair many times and those many times usually left me in tears. For the life of me, I was never able to understand how she kept clients. They would come in and sit in her chair and tell her what they wanted. Sometimes they brought pictures. 

Every single time, she would tell them that was NOT what they wanted at all, that she knew what they would look good with and proceed to give them the exact same haircut she gave everyone. Some times she would vary a bit, but in the end, the neck line was always the same. Every woman over the age of 30 needed short hair according to my mother. Long hair on old women (over 30, mind you) was bad. 

Add to that the obligatory permanent to achieve a mound of frizzy hair that could only be contained with hair curlers and several good coats of hair spray, and there you had the perfect look. She did just that to my hair at the tender age of 17 when I became a mother. I would cry every time I looked in the mirror and vow that her hands would never find their way to my head again. So, I would sneak out to her shop and using the tools she had, I styled my own hair, letting it grow longer and longer. Was my mother a bully of sorts? Why, yes, yes she was!

I kept my hair long well into my 40's, much to her dismay. By then I was immune to her telling me what to do and how to do it. Should she point out my many faults, I would give it right back to her and tell her where she fell short. Do I regret this? No, not really. The fact that I would challenge her didn't mean I didn't love her, but, as I told my Dad, as we stood next to her last viewing ... she was so hard to love.

When I started writing this, my intentions were going in a totally different direction. My mind was set on other things, but I guess my heart wasn't having it. I am at a total standstill in a book I have been writing about her. I have not been able to add a single word since my Dad died. When I started the project, the words seemed to flow. It is a work of fiction, based on her life as I knew it. Written in my interpretation of her voice. There are many stories that I know from growing up in her care and stories that she told me herself. There are just as many huge gaps in what I know about her. 

So many secrets she never revealed to me or my sister, some I doubt my Dad was privy to. Talking to her relatives and people she may have interacted with before she became my mother doesn't add much to the picture. I knew I would never try to publish the book until both her and my Daddy were gone. So, how ironic is it that I seem to not be able to continue?

I don't look like my mother and I have lived my entire life trying to not be my mother. I know that sounds harsh, but it is true. I loved Mother, but I also pitied her. She never realized the fullness of her life. My Dad was a wonderfully loyal man. When he remarried at age 75, when she had been gone for 5 years, he confided to me that he had never been so happy in his entire life. He followed that statement with, "Now, if your mother were still alive, you know I would always be with her."

There were many times in my life that I could not be around my mother for various reasons, mostly for my own mental well being. During those times, Daddy would take her side and choose not to be a part of my life. As painful as that could be, I had to admire his loyalty to his wife. After she died, he became a very important part of my life. Even knowing that his cancer was taking him, his death absolutely devastated me. I miss him every day.

And, yes, I cut my own hair. Rarely does that action hit me as profoundly as it did today!



ellen abbott said...

as nearly as I can tell, there are two relationships with mothers...either you are close and loving or the opposite. I did not have a close loving relationship with my mother. she was very self-centered, didn't like small children, critical of her daughters (two) but thought the sun rose and set on her only son. by the time I was 16 I was calling her by the formal 'mother'. and as she aged and I aged it didn't get better. and after my dad died and I was the only child left in the state and her care fell to me, she got even worse.I wouldn't say I loved my mother. sometimes I barely tolerated her. all she did was complain and refuse to be accommodating. I finally shipped her up to my brother who promptly put her in a care home. which she needed truth to tell. anyway, she was dying, all us kids gathered at the care home and the last words I spoke to her were 'I love you'. I don't know if I meant it or not or just didn't want her to die without hearing it after decades of not. she died the next morning early before we could return. I cried a bit but neither my sister or the son she adored did. I wondered about that until it occurred to me a couple of weeks later that I wasn't crying because the mother I had had died but because I would never have the mother I wanted.

Joanne Noragon said...

My mother and I got along until my second daughter was six or seven. She became a difficult child and my parents didn't like her. Neither did my inlaws or my husband. I was the only adult who loved her. It was not good for either of us. And still isn't.

Kathy G said...

Thanks for the peek into your background.

River said...

I also spent my entire life trying not to be my mother. Mostly I've succeeded, but now and again I'll do something and realise it is exactly what she would have done in the exact same way.

RunNRose said...

Life....... I remember when I was 5-6 years old and realized that all people die. I lay in my bed and cried and cried. I loved my mom so
much. How could I possibly live without her? Many things happened over the years, I continued to love her, but as I reached adulthood, and had a practical stranger help me leave my mother's house, the hurts began to weigh heavier than my love for her. She moved from TX to CA.
Caused all kinds of grief for her siblings there, and her other children. She had been dead four years before I knew about it. Not that long ago, I realized that it is because of my mother's actions that I find myself in TX with no family connections anywhere. When I was six, she brought me to TX from AL. Even though she was one of seven, I did not grow up knowing any family. Then, the same year I moved out, she took my seven younger siblings to CA. Those relationships stopped then. I didn't see them for 10-15 years. All of our lives took different turns. Many lies were told. In my memory the kids never grew up. I had a brief interaction with a sister a couple of years ago, From what she said, no two siblings interact. A sad state of affairs,

Interesting to know other peoples' stories..

Linda O'Connell said...

Iused to cut my hair, but now I have decided to let it grow and be witchy woman. LOL

Your possible property sounds ideal, but I would go further south.

Unknown said...

The mother daughter relationship is definitely a difficult one. I always felt more like the mother or the older sister. When I left for college it was so freeing of all of the responsibilities that I felt at home.
I have always cut my own hair. I have only had two haircuts in shops, once when I was five and again when twelve. Both were memorable and traumatic for different reasons. One time I let my father cut my bangs - I never let him near my hair again.