Then combing and styling (and Goldfish):
Then the finished product:
Cute, no? Actually, it freaked me out at first. The pigtails somehow make Zoey look so old. Soon she’ll be all Where do babies come from? and Can you drop me off a block from the mall? I’ll have to take her shopping for a training bra. And later, for tampons. I’ll watch her be mostly kind to others, but sometimes teenage-girl mean. We’ll fight over make-up and curfew and grades. Sometimes she’ll be okay with me — maybe leaning against my shoulder during a TV show or telling me who she has a crush on after I pick her up from soccer practice. But mostly, I’m afraid she won’t. At least for a while. She’ll want to have her own opinions and make her own choices. She’ll want to be older than she is and she’ll want to do so many things she won’t quite be ready for. She’ll wonder what life would have been like with her first mom. Better, maybe. She may whisper it to her pillow at night. Tell her friends all about it. Yell it at me hoping it hurts — hoping it creates oceans of distance, You’re not my real mom. But for now, she is so casual with her closeness — so casual with her touches. She backs up into my lap, sometimes perching on my knee and sometimes leaning her entire body against my chest. She cups my chin in her tiny palm, traces my nose with a single finger, pets my hair with a flat hand. My body as part of hers. Always. Moms are allowed to live in absolutes.