Going up sleepovers were a big deal. I very rarely got to go but, there are a few that really stick out my mind from middle school. The one I remember the most was at my best friend April’s house. She was a new girl who had moved to Danville from Oklahoma. The reason why that particular sleepover was so memorable to me is because it was the first time someone ever French braided my hair. In fact, it was really the first time I remember anyone ever doing something to my hair other than me. Other than my mother brushing my hair when I was really young.
I realize my hair was really short prior to middle school and there probably wasn’t too much that anybody could do with it. As I grew it out I experimented, usually failing miserably, to make it resemble the hairstyles of all my friends. I don’t think their words to describe how elated I was when Mrs. Splane completed her braid my hair. After that I became abscessed with braiding I braided all of my dolls as well as all of my friends. Eventually, I even learned to French braid my own hair. In time I graduated in to multiple braids, fishtails, inverted French Braids and most recently braids inspired by the Hunger Games.
In the days before YouTube all you could do was watch others and learn and when it came to braiding I was an eager student and practiced diligently. In my adult life I definitely don’t braid as much as I did in my youth but it’s often therapeutic and a favorite way to tuck away my hair for travel days.
A girlfriend of mine recently found out that she was going to have a daughter and when she saw my braids asked if I could teach her how to braid hair. I think we all know how great it is to have someone else do your hair. And I’m sure that it’s a wonderful bonding experience between a mother and a daughter. I think I was always a little bit jealous of April to have such an awesome mom who could French braid hair. Of course I adore my own mother but I wonder how different our relationship would’ve been if we had bonded over things like hair and make up and other girly activities. In the years since I’ve left home I’m now the one who goes home and beg my mother to let me do her hair and make up. Rather than practice on dolls I now practice on my god sister Katie, who is often a willing guinea pig. She, along with countless children I’ve babysat, or cheerleaders I have coached, have benefited from the skills I learned as a child at a sleepover.
I can’t wait to have my own little girl one day but until then I will keep braiding my own hair and anyone else who asks. Curly girls can rock the French Braid too – OUI!