I picked up my purse and started to walk out the door.

"Wait a second. You're not leaving the house like that, are you?? Did you sleep in those clothes??" she asked me, horrified at the thought.

"Mom, I'm going to WalMart. It's fine. It's only 7AM. It's not like anybody is there. Besides, I'll fit right in."

She stared.

I stared back.

She arched her eyebrow.

I lifted my chin in defiance.

Suddenly, I was 10 again, and we were facing off in the living room. That time, it was over my perceived right to fix my hair. She wanted to french braid it. I wanted to do whatever it is that I wanted to do, which amounted to, "I had no clue what I'm going to do but it's totally going to be the opposite of what you want."

I squirmed.

I cried.

I howled.

I wailed.

She cracked me on the backside with that old pink hair brush that used to be hers when she was a teenager.

The minute that hair brush connected with my bottom, I knew what I was going to do. When she got done braiding my hair, I stood up. I stalked out of her bedroom to the living room. She followed behind me. It was my moment. My moment of defiance. There was no turning back...I knew the consequences.

I grabbed a pillow off the couch, and I turned around to face her. I took the pillow and rubbed it all over my head to mess up my hair.

Yes. Yes, I did. There was something oddly thrilling about it. I had willingly crossed the line. Punishment be cursed! This was my hair on the line.

My mother, bless her heart, could have killed me.

And I knew it.

But she said, "Fine. Do your own hair." But she said it only like a mom could say it. She only said five words out loud, but what she really was saying was, "Fine. You do that, missy. Just you wait. Your hair is gonna look awful. When we go out, I'll get sympathetic nods from other moms who know. I smile and wink back at them. Because they all know what I know. In 10 years you'll look back at the pictures and you will regret it and you will ask me why I ever let you leave the house looking like that and then I'll be happy."

But now, I'm 29. There is no cracking me on the bottom with a hair brush. Funny all the thoughts and feelings that run through your mind in a split second, isn't it?

And then Mom shook her head and said, "You and your father...that's fine."

I WON!!! I WON!!!! HA!

By the way - I count winning as "not getting my backside cracked with a hairbrush."

But in the end, I was a total loser. She played the "Mom-game" on me. Those two words that could be interpreted so many ways plagued me the whole time I was shopping.

"That's fine."

As in, "If you want to look awful, be my guest."

It was one of the most miserable shopping trips ever. I kept thinking about how I looked. Did I look that bad? Does anybody know I didn't change before leaving the house?

I hope she's happy.

She won.

And I hate every photo of myself from age 10 until about age 15. It was like my arms weren't long enough to reach the back of my head to brush my hair or something.

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Shannon McFerren said... @ October 3, 2010 at 8:48 PM

Ok, so I am TOTALLY cracking up right now b/c I used to do the same thing. However, what makes me laugh most is that I had one of those pink hairbrushes! ME, not my mom! Thanks for making me feel old! LOL! Thanks for the memories!!! xoxo

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