My mom greased my scalp this morning. My mom greased my scalp this morning and for those few moments, I felt like a little girl again. I sat on the stool in her bathroom and closed my eyes as she oiled her fingers and ran them down the sides of my braids. I imagined myself not having a care in the world, much like my life when I was her little girl. I listened to her talk about people we used to know and the loud cars of the people in the vacation home across the street. While my own children watched cartoons in the next room, I secretly enjoyed being my momma’s baby again as she stood over me in that bathroom and greased my scalp.
Now I know some of you are uncertain as to what I am referring to when I say that she greased my scalp so let me explain. I am a black woman and my hair does not produce its own oil so I have to add moisture in. Like most little black girls, I spent many nights sitting between my moms legs as she parted my hair and and ran her oily fingers down my scalp. I was quite tender headed back then and couldn’t enjoy hearing her hum a gospel tune, talk about her day, or laugh at the sitcom that was playing on our television. I wanted her to be done. I wanted her hands out of my hair. But not today. 37 year old me wanted this moment to last forever.
You see, in those brief minutes in that bathroom I was safe. I was back in our old house in Paterson, NJ sitting on the floor between her soft chocolate legs only this time, I enjoyed the listening. I enjoyed the talks and laughter. I enjoyed feeling those arthritic fingers covered in cool oil running down my scalp. I enjoyed not worrying about my children or digital schooling. I enjoyed not rushing into the kitchen to figure out the daily menu. There were no dishes, no laundry, no to-do list, no politics, no racism, no pandemic. Just her, myself, and some hair grease. I didn’t realize it until then, but this was just what I needed.
I am on vacation with my family at a cabin in the mountains. While I love time away from our norm, as moms you know that vacations are really just taking care of your kids in another location. So while I am not at my home, I am still cooking, doing laundry and yelling at my kids. I am definitely more relaxed than I would be at home, but that time in that bathroom with my mom this morning was a true escape. As moms, we have so many worries and fears that we carry on our shoulders and in our hearts on a daily basis. But being with my mom this morning for those short minutes made all of that go away. I guess it’s true that no matter how old you are, you always need your mom. She has no idea how grateful I am for that time in her bathroom earlier. I had no idea how much I still love being her little girl. I hope that I provide this same comfort to my babies when they’re older. I hope they know that no matter how old they get, they will always be my sweet little boys and baby girl. I hope a seemingly miniscule act I perform will remind them of simpler times and will bring the same joy and peace that I felt today.
My mom greased my scalp this morning. More importantly, my mom warmed my heart, showed me love and made me feel like her little girl all over again. Thank you mom, I love you.