Hairbrushes and Mermaid Songs

“It’s crooked!” The first girl exclaimed.

“Fix it!” The other one chirped.

“I can’t! I don’t havvvvve a brush.” Girl one begged.

“Does Cara?” Her friend asked.

“CARA!” They yelled in unison, echoing off of the bathroom walls.

“What!” The presumed Cara called back.

“Got a brush?” Girl two asked.

“I don’t know! Look in my backpack.”

“UGGGGGGHH!” Girl two groaned.


This all seemed logical to me as I witnessed this exchange today in the ladies’ room at OU. The gaggle of pre-tween/tween girls helped each other adjust their naturally beautiful hair into pop star perfect ponytails.

I listened to them as I washed and dried my hands, smiling inwardly as I exited and went on with my day.

Cara and her friends… Such innocence.


Yesterday, I saw a man, who appeared about my age, teach his young daughter to talk and sing into a fan, laughing at the distortion of her own voice.

“Sing the mermaid song.” He encouraged.

“….be part of your WOOOOORRRRLLLLDDD.” She belted.

His wife, and the enchantress’ mother, shook her head, laughed at the pair of them, and took each of them by the arm, leading them away from the fan and onto the day’s next adventure.


I thought of these scenes when I told two of my best friends “kids don’t know what they have.”

And they don’t.

Pre-teens and teenagers don’t know that days of playing on the swings and spending days with friends will one day end. Getting on their bikes and striking out into the wild will one day be “aerobic”.

And the biggest challenge of the day won’t be finding a hairbrush.

I didn’t grow up quickly. I enjoyed the freedom of childhood. As a teen, I didn’t plunge headlong into adulthood by making choices I wasn’t ready to handle.

At twenty-three, I had a friend tell me that she was more “worldly” than I. She was all of twenty-seven. Mentally, I thought something mean. Something along the lines of “I might not be ‘worldly’, but at least I’m not a fuck up.” I didn’t say that. Instead, I replied “we all make choices” and I left it at that.

There was a part of me that wondered exactly what she meant by “worldliness” and why she evaluated me as lacking it. But there was a larger part of me that didn’t care, and I didn’t change based upon her evaluation.

Immeasurable value is found in not rushing anything and taking one’s time.

I see kids rushing to become adults and I think: Simmer. Down.

And most people I know that rushed to grow up regret it as adults.

Adulting can be hard.

We have to work to reconnect with the joy that children, even teens, have in excess.

We have to schedule days to have fun with our friends, and we have to hope that our plans work out in the end.

Then there are days when we don’t, can’t, remember the last time that we sang into a fan.

Two weeks ago, I blasted music and spun around and around with arms outstretched. Just because I could.

I recently scrubbed carpets and I forgot that Resolve will make the bottoms of flip flops into ice skates when they meet the tiled kitchen floor. I slid, 80’s hair band guitar solo style, across the dining room floor.

It hurt later but at the time I was a rock goddess.

Those kids I saw don’t know the word “worldly” and that’s a blessing.

What’s “worldly” if the world you occupy doesn’t include fun, innocence, and simple laughter?

And that very well be naïve, as I’m sure my now acquaintance may believe. Or, it’s more likely that she’ll agree with me, forgetting that she once evaluated me as a simpleton.

Either way, I hope those girls remember to borrow their best friends’ hairbrushes all throughout life.

I hope girls, my own, the ones in my family, and the daughters of my best friends, I hope they all sing into fans.

Never forgetting their mermaid songs.




For JRS, KICS, KLT, LLM, and DMI, whose brushes still party with mine.


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