From Chicken Soup for the Mother of Preschooler's Soul

Rosie’s Salon

Intense love does not measure; it just gives.

Mother Teresa

“Mommy, get up,” three-year-old Rosemary chimed.

I opened my eyes to her face, only inches from my own, and wished I felt half as happy as she looked. I was tired and fighting a nasty cold, and I’d been up in the night with Ryan, five months, who now slept next to me.

What I need, my eyes closed again, is someone to take care of me for a change.

“Wake up, Mommy, wake up.”

“Good morning, Rosemary,” I sighed and crawled out of bed.

“Morning, Mommy.” She climbed on the bed and started bouncing. Her face broke into smiles when she noticed Ryan’s sleeping body rise and fall with the mattress waves.

“Stop bouncing, Rosie. You’ll wake your brother.”

“Okay, Mommy.” She stopped and started to wiggle instead. I could tell by her impish look that waking her brother was exactly what she hoped.

The last thing I need is for him to wake up before I get a chance to shower. I muttered a bit and tuned the television to PBS. “Here, watch Dragon Tales for a fewminutes while I shower.”

“Sure, Mommy.” She plopped down and pulled the covers around her chin.

“And leave your brother alone.” She nodded, her eyes already glued to the colorful images of dragons dancing on the screen.

I showered quickly and combed my hair while I peeked around the corner of the bathroom to check on the kids. Ryan was still sleeping. Rosie was rummaging through some toys stashed in the far reaches of my bedroom.

“Look, my Winnie-the-Pooh comb.” She held up a baby comb, the kind with extra fine teeth and a cartoon motif on the handle.

“That’s nice.” Distracted, I thought through my morning list.

Get dressed, fix my hair, put on makeup, change Ryan’s diaper, get the kids dressed, eat breakfast, nurse Ryan, feed the dogs, let the dogs out, let the dogs in, clean up, start laundry . . . all before lunch. Then, of course, I had an equally long list for the afternoon. I sighed as I hunted for something to wear. Rosie followed right behind.

“I want to comb your hair, Mommy.”

I turned and nearly tripped over her. “Watch out, Rosie!”

“I want to comb your hair,” she repeated sweetly.

“Rosie, I have so much to do. . . .” I saw her bright blue eyes and the way she grasped the comb in her fingers. A few minutes of bonding, I reasoned, would be good for us. “Okay,” I relented, “but just for a couple minutes.”

Motioning to the chest at the foot of the bed, she was all business. “Sit here, Mommy.” She propped herself on the mattress behind me.

I bracedmyself for some unpleasant tugging and tangling, but, miraculously, her tiny-toothed comb glided through.

“Just relax, Mommy.” I let out the breath I was holding inside.

“This won’t hurt a bit. It’s just a little snaggle.” I murmured something in reply and glanced at the clock to see how much time had passed—only a few minutes. I looked at Ryan; he was still sleeping.

Oh well, I thought, I can sit here another moment or two. I let my shoulders relax, just a little.

“Sit still,” she told me. “Now, turn your head.”

As Rosemary combed and talked, my head slouched forward and my eyes drifted closed. I melted into her capable hands. I was getting one of the best gifts of my life, time to relax and just . . . be . . . with Rosemary.

All too soon, she stopped. “Okay, you’re done.”

“Done?” I tried to hide my disappointment.

“All done. Look.” She turned me toward my dresser mirror like we were at a fine salon. I looked at my reflection. My face was much more relaxed than it had been half an hour before. My hair, still shower-damp, was hardly changed.

“Thank you, Rosie, I love it.” I hugged my little hairdresser. She smiled back, proud of her accomplishment. Soon after, I got dressed, Ryan awoke, and we all toddled down the stairs for breakfast.

It would be great to say that the rest of my day was perfect. It wasn’t. Perfection isn’t possible when you’re the stay-at-home mom of two little ones. And yet, when the dogs tracked mud across the floor, when Rosie spilled her juice on the carpet and when Ryan spit up on me, I approached my challenges refreshed.

Instead of getting upset, I let my mind wander back to my morning at Rosie’s Salon. She’d done more than my hair . . . she’d styled my attitude.

Myrna C.G. Mibus

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