Lessons from an 8 year old

The little girl sat down across the table from me for her writing conference. “We have something in common,” she said, smiling at me. I couldn’t imagine what she might be thinking. Her dark hair and complexion were in direct contrast to my fair. Her 8 years to my 52. “We both have curly hair!” she exclaimed, and she was right. Although I don’t let my hair go naturally often, today I had and we both were sporting tight curls.

The girl went on to tell me how she’d recently donated her hair. For the fourth time. It was currently styled in a short bob and her mom had carefully parted and sectioned her hair in the front to make two small buns. She went on to tell me all kinds of stories about her family, her bedroom, her weekend. I was smitten. I loved this girl’s very essence. I told her I wanted to wear my hair that way this weekend and she told me to take a picture!

I walked out of that classroom 30 minutes later thinking, I want to shed the weight of rules and rigidity, of constriction and criticism. I want laughter and lightness. I want to get lost in my moments. Like I did when I was 8. I want buns!

How could I mimic that feeling as an adult with responsibilities, obligations, and serious things to think about? I can wear my red pant to work more often. I can add whimsy to my garden. I can play on the weekend and be silly. I can thumb wrestle, make decisions with rock, paper, scissors. I can put braids in my hair. I can surrender. And feel the release.

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