When I was little, a special occasion meant hot rollers. Christmas Eve, getting our pictures taken, a special school concert meant that the rollers came out and a piece of tissue or toilet paper that my mom tucked around my ear so that it wasn’t too hot. As I got older, I did it myself and it carried me through to special dances and ponytails that felt a little bit more pretty with curls. It’s one of those random memories that sticks with me and reminds me of holidays and exciting times and, even though I’m sure people would laugh to know, I’ve always had a set of hot rollers.
It felt so strange at Thanksgiving to have them out for Mia’s hair. One of those strange, “I cannot really be at this point in my life” moments when you realize that you are the one sitting in the bathroom putting the curlers in your little girl’s hair and that it’s not baby hair anymore – it’s legit, long, thick, shiny kid hair able to hold a curler. She’s whining that they’re hot and I’m sitting there telling her that they’re not that hot and she’ll be fine and she whines that a little hair is caught and I know the exact feeling – that one painful hair that gets stuck and pulls. She’ll learn it, too, and she’ll learn just the right way to pull it out gently to stop the pain without pulling it out entirely and leaving one hair that’s not curled.
The curls always come out just the same, falling softly and holding the soft shape of the curl at the end until the rollers are all out and just barely still warm. You run your fingers through it and fluff it all and enjoy it before the curl falls out and leaves it all just a little more smooth and with a little more body than normal.