Monday, February 28, 2005

Oh, Daughter of Mine

About an hour or more ago, I put my daughter to bed. After her Jacuzzi bath and follow-up shower, I'd spent about 45 minutes this evening braiding her hair Bo Derek-style. The mornings are rushed, and besides, I'm usually gone by the time she wakes up, so there's no time for hair niceties done by my hand.

But tonight I offered to make her lots of little braids, and let me tell you, we both needed patience for the task to be completed. She grew restless, I grew restless; she needed to stretch her back, I needed to stretch mine. But the end result was a headful of lovely little braids with colorful elastic bands holding them together.

For once my daughter was not so pouty, and more pleased by my stylistic coifs done on her behalf.

But I knew that by the morning the beautiful braids might become disheveled, with straggling hair hanging here and there. The braids would look unkempt and it would be too time-consuming and difficult for this seven-year-old to be up to the task of "putting her best hair forward!" So we sought a solution to try to keep the braids looking equally good in the morning as they did when she went to bed. She requested that I put a head scarf on her, which I've done before. This was something I did when I was young, coming home from the hairdresser, and wearing a head scarf to bed to try to keep the hairstyle intact.

This evening, however, when I tied the scarf around her braids, in a babushka style, I suddenly thought that my daughter had taken on an Old World look--a look of a Polish peasant, perhaps. Perhaps, I thought, she looked like my aunt must have, when she died at age 15 at the hands of the Nazis. My daughter is named for this aunt, my father's adored youngest sister. Of course, there are no photos that were salvaged from before the war years, so I have no clue what this aunt might have looked like. But I know that her name was Marjem, after her father Meir, who died two months before she was born. She was a source of light to her family.

My daughter's middle name is Meriam, and she too, is sweet and adored, and a source of light for our family, as her great-aunt was to my father's family.

May Marjem rest in peace, and l'havdil, may Meriam live a long, healthy and happy life. Amen.

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