Tangled in the Memories

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Amanda Taylor -Tangled Memories4by Amanda Tingle Taylor | @itTingles

Time has a funny way of playing with your memories. Things that never seemed important to you in the present hold so much power over you as a memory. My daughter just moved out of my house for the first time. She is a college freshman living on campus. I would love to say it’s been a smooth transition for me, but I have faltered much more than I expected. I haven’t wanted to leave the house or do much of anything. I left half of me standing in the rear view mirror as I drove away from her school.

Without her here the memories start to play back. I try not to live in the memories that remind me how I could have done better as a mother. I could have spent more time with her. I could have laughed more and yelled less. I try to think about better times and how happy she sounds when she gets a chance to call home. I miss everything about her, but most of all I miss her hair.

I miss her wild, curly, unruly hair. I remember when she was an infant, holding her tightly and smelling her hair. It was like a drug I could never get enough of. As she grew, so did her lavish curls. One moment they were striking all pulled up in a bow and the next they were an explosion of bouncy curls in every direction. The smell of her freshly washed hair always meant it was time for snuggles and bed. When she wanted to be wrapped in my embrace and whisper stories. I remember waking up to the smell of her hair on my pillow most mornings because she would steal away and sneak out of her bed and into mine.

As she grew older I was needed less and less to help with her hair. Gone were the days of me washing it and drying it for her. The school dances came next, where proper hair was a must. She had many more ideas now on just how her hair should be done. This led to tears and arguments for us. In the end, my hands would weave her hair into something wonderful and all was right in the world. Her eighth grade formal brought with it another milestone. She posed in the driveway for an endless stream of photos, her smile so bright and her hair done remarkably. I knew that marked the end of something for me. She had friends with opinion’s now and a desire to “do it herself.”

Strangely enough, her senior year brought a new turn of events—she joined the Jr. R.O.T.C! I was flung back into the days of wrestling with her locks. Every Thursday for a year I had the chance to do her hair. Pulling those long dark curls into a braid and bun that would pass inspection. Every week I relished the time we spent together while my hands worked on her hair and my heart was full.

On her last night at home before leaving for college, she slept in the bed with me. The whispered stories were replaced with list making and last minute worries. When her breathing had slowed and I knew she was finally asleep I leaned into her and buried my face in her curls. They smelled like my daughter. The same as when she was young. I wanted to stay awake and continue to just be with her in that moment, to remember every detail of her. But my eyes grew heavy and I drifted off to sleep.

The next day I stayed strong as we moved her into her dorm—unpacking and sorting, opening and discarding things as we went. I made as little eye contact as possible because I knew what would happen if I stayed in her gaze for too long. The day was winding down for us but just beginning for her. We were rushed off so she could prepare for her first meeting and welcoming to college. We paused for some photos, everyone getting a turn to stand next to our darling daughter and mark this passing of time.

My turn came and I smiled. The car was pulled around and I was able to embrace her one last time before leaving. I buried my face in her hair—my fingers caressing her curls and trying to memorize them. I needed to freeze time and remember everything about her hair. The smell, the texture, and the warmth it had from the hot July sun. Memories assaulted me as she forced me to pull away. All the times my hands had gotten the tangles out of her hair. All the times I had carefully worked those unruly curls into something magnificent. All the times I had kissed her while she slept, lingering to smell her hair. Even all the times I had yelled at her for not cleaning her hair out of the drain! They were all mine and I wrapped them around me to keep me strong.

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About Amanda:

Amanda_Taylor_bio_image

 

I am an elementary school art teacher living just south of Atlanta. I share my home with my husband, daughter and a menagerie of animals. My passion for helping others and desire to share the word of God with the hurt and lost comes through in my artwork, photography and writing.

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