February 17, 2017
By Ekta R. Garg
A couple of weeks ago, we got an invitation to a dinner for last Friday night. Normally my husband and I are a little reluctant to accept invitations for the end of the week. After school on Fridays I take the kids straight to Eight’s cello lesson, and then we go to their art lesson and then come home.
Because the cello lesson is only a half-hour long and the art teacher lives a mile or two from the cello teacher’s house, it seems silly not to take advantage of that proximity. The result, however, is that we all come home on Friday evening a little tired and completely in weekend mode. No one really wants to go out.
We made an exception for last Friday for a few reasons, but the biggest one came from the fact that the family inviting us lived in our neighborhood.
I brought the kids home around 6 p.m., and we had an hour to get ready. I sent Ten and Eight to their rooms and went into my own closet to pick out something to wear. After several minutes of weighing my options, I pulled my outfit off the hanger and changed my clothes.
Just as I sat down in front of the mirror to do my makeup, Ten came into my room. I asked her what she thought of my outfit, and she approved with a quick nod. Eight came to me then and asked me to do her hair, and I suggested she change her top first. The three of us trooped to her room to find something suitable, and she stayed in her room while I went back to mine and the makeup vanity.
Ten wandered in after me. I knew if I didn’t give her another task, she’d spend her time fidgeting until we had to leave. I told her to go grab her comb and start combing her hair in preparation for me to braid it.
A minute or two later, Eight came into my room too.
“Go get your comb and start coming your hair,” Ten instructed her little sister.
Eight bounded off to her room and came back within 30 seconds. She went to the tall mirror in the corner of my room. Ten sat on the chaise and continued working on her own long locks.
I could see both girls from where I sat at my vanity in the bathroom. We started chatting, the three of us. Ten and Eight talked about their week in school, sharing bits and pieces that hadn’t come out before that evening. I added items to the conversation that I thought they might find interesting.
At one point, Eight grinned at herself in the mirror.
“This is kind of like an episode of Girl Meets World,” she said.
Ten chuckled and agreed. I couldn’t help smiling, although I wasn’t sure what about us getting ready for a dinner party made her think of the show. For a minute, though, I got a peek into the future and the past all at the same time.
When my family and I had to go somewhere that required a little extra dressing up, my mother, sister, and I would do exactly what I did with Ten and Eight. The three of us would hole up in a bedroom, get dressed, offer suggestions on hair, and (when my sister and I got old enough) even share makeup. We never discussed life-altering decisions or anything too heady. Most of our conversations, as with Eight and Ten that night, meandered through the most mundane topics.
It didn’t feel like a TV show, never mind what Eight said, but I can see this portion of our evening repeating itself. The girls and me getting ready, bickering about the right hairstyle or shade of lipstick. My husband coming in when we’re putting on final touches and complimenting all three of us.
Eight surprised me with her vigorous interest in it all. Of the three of us, she’s the least likely to engage in overtly girly things. She likes to look pretty, and she’s thrilled with the result when she gets dressed up, but ask her to think about what to wear and she rolls her eyes and heaves a sigh. So much effort, she seems to say with her body language.
The dinner party itself was fine, but what I appreciated most about that night was that hour before we went to our friends’ house. Sometimes parenting isn’t about the big moments, the big conversations. Sometimes it’s as much about these little moments as anything else. These evenings where we bond over something as simple as a hairstyle. These times when eyeliner can draw us all together.
These are the moments that make my heart smile.