05 Dec My Daughter, Myself
Dana Henry was walking quickly down the hall of her four year old daughter’s nursery school. She had made a spur of the moment appointment at her hair salon, to have Danni’s hair cut in a classic bob, just like her own. As she peered through the door, she could see her daughter drawing at a table with her friends. Dana knocked and Miss Giancola waved her to come on in. She said smiling, “Welcome. Here is your little artist, on her fiftieth drawing of the day.”
“I was the same way when I was her age.” Dana got closer to the art table. “Stars, flowers, hearts and rainbows.” She bent over her daughter. “Hi Danni. I used to draw the same things. Can you get your coat? I have a surprise for you. We’re going to the hairdresser so you can get a haircut like mine. I’ll bet people will really mix us up then.”
Danni went to get her coat and school bag. Dana turned to Miss Giancola. “I’m sorry to take her out early. My guy is doing us a big favor. It’s the only time he could squeeze us in.”
Danni finished the indigo arch of her rainbow. She said goodbye to her friends. Molly called to her, “Tomorrow I’ll teach you to draw a fish.”
“I’d love that,” Danni smiled. “I’ll practice later.”
Dana smiled too. “I don’t have any clue how to draw a fish, Molly. Maybe Danni will be able to teach me. Come on, Danni. We can’t be late.
As mother and daughter left, Maurice announced, “Miss Giancola, they’re like twins. Their coats and hats are the same!”
“Great noticing, Maurice,” Miss Giancola affirmed. “The same brown boots too.”
As Dana and Danni drove to the salon, they made plans to go out for lunch.
“Will some kids be there, Mommy?”
“I bet there will be a few. It will be fun eating together.” Glancing at her daughter in the rearview mirror, Dana couldn’t believe how much Danni looked like she did when she was a girl. “She is just me all over again,” she thought happily.
Blake was drying an older lady’s hair when they entered the salon. The receptionist, Barbara greeted them. “Hello ladies. It is lovely to have you here. Blake will be ready in a few. What is your name, dear?”
Dana answered before Danni could open her mouth. “This is Danni, Barbara.”
“Danni? Like Dana? How cute. She is your mini clone.”
“We almost named her Emma, but she looked so much like my baby pictures, that we picked a name close to mine.”
Blake came out into the foyer, ready for his youngest client. He kissed Dana, “Hello sweetie. This must be Danni.”
Dana ushered Danni over to her usual seat. Appraising Danni in the floor-to-ceiling mirrors, Blake touched her hair. “Nice and thick,” he remarked to Dana, “Just like yours.”
Dana smiled happily. “You can make the back a little shorter than the rest, like mine, right?”
“Course I can.” He smiled at Danni, who seemed a little bit uncomfortable. “Okay. We’ll wash your hair, do the cut and then you’ll be ready for lunch.”
Dana stood by during the shampoo. “Do you know a special lunch place, Blake? It isn’t everyday that I have my princess with me.”
“How about Chez Moi? Comfy banquettes, yummy food and desserts to die for.”
“Great idea. That’s it.”
Dana couldn’t take her eyes off Blake’s scissors. She kept touching her own hair, and then looking back at Danni’s in the mirror. When he was finished, Blake showed them Danni’s haircut from all angles in his hand mirror.
“A masterpiece, Blake,” Dana beamed. “Thank you!”
Danni was happy too. She liked that her mother was so thrilled with her hair.
Dana wrote Blake’s check. She kissed his cheek. “See you next week.”
Blake smiled, “You two look cute together. No denying you’re related now.”
As they walked down the street to Chez Moi, Dana couldn’t stop looking at Danni. “You look just like me. I can’t believe it. Do you like it?”
“I do. I do because you do so much.”
The smell of melted butter, warm bread and sautéed onions filled the air of the snug restaurant. Their table was perfect. They had a view of the busy place and a window looking out to a little herb garden. A pretty waitress came by to give menus. “Are you sisters or mother and daughter?” she joked.
“Lucky me, right? Dana asked with a chirp.
“Lucky both of you,” the woman answered.
“This will be an easy order,” Dana told her. “Two fizzy waters with lemon and two medium rare cheeseburgers. Thank you.”
Dana saw two women at the next table looking at them. One of them leaned toward them, smiling. “Is this a birthday lunch?”
Dana smiled back. “Just a little Mommy time. I need it more than my daughter.”
“How nice to be out together. Have fun.”
The tall glasses appeared. Dana clinked hers against Danni’s and they ‘cheered.’
When their cheeseburgers arrived, Dana removed the tomato from her dish and put it on a separate plate. Then she did the same to Danni’s.
“Mommy, I’ve eaten tomato at school and liked it. I’ll eat mine.”
“It must have been loaded with salt. They’re yucky.”
They both loved their burgers, and the feeling of the restaurant. “Blake was right to send us here. It is a perfect place for us,” Dana said.
Danni looked at the two slices of tomato on their separate white plate. With her fork, she put one back on her dish. As she cut it, Dana said, “What’s going on? Tomatoes?” She moved what was left back to the other plate. “Honey, we don’t eat tomatoes.”
“But Mommy, I like them.” Danni sounded annoyed. “I like mac n cheese now too.”
Dana looked at her daughter with surprise. “Ugh! You always like the same food I do.”
The waitress came by to see how things were going. Teasingly she asked, “Two espressos?”
“How about two chocolate chip cookies, instead?” Dana countered.
“Sounds good, ladies. Right away.”
The chocolate chip cookies came out on a light blue plate. They were big, thin and crisp. Dana looked at Danni’s small hands holding the cookie. “How about after we have our cookies, we get your nails done? The nail place will definitely still have same color polish as mine.”
“Can I have tiny ladybugs on my nails like Molly does?”
“I prefer you get the pale pink. It will look nice on you and goes with all our clothes.”
As they left Chez Moi, a handsome man opened the door for them and winked. “Hello, you two. Which of you is the mother?”
Dana laughed, “Sometimes I ask myself the same question… just kidding,” she added.
Walking back to the car, Dana kept watching their reflection in the glass windows of the stores. She loved having her little clone. Danni had run ahead. Dana was surprised to get in the car and find Danni had already buckled herself into her car seat. “Mommy, is there time to go back to school? I’d rather go there than to the nail place. I miss Molly and Miss Giancola.”
“What?!” Dana was shocked. “I thought we were having a perfect day together.”
“I want to see my friends. I want Molly to teach me how to draw a fish.”
“It’s too late for school, honey. It’s almost over. Let’s go home and practice drawing fish together.”
Danni looked out the window. “Okay,” she sighed.
Dana loves her little girl very much. However her involvement in Danni’s life is becoming claustrophobic, limiting them both. As four-year-old Danni becomes more her own person, the path of their relationship can be reset. Dana can feel their familial bond in a nurturing way, rather than one she observes from a mirror. As Dana separates her identity from Danni’s, their relationship will deepen and other aspects of Dana’s life will become more interesting.
Written by: Anne Martine Cook, Managing Partner & Mom, with 35+ years experience teaching nursery school children.
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