The White House has global influence. Hollywood influences culture. Even alcohol has the power to put you under the influence.
That is heavy stuff.
Influence carries a weightiness.
And yet, I hardly ever consider influence and it's presence in my life.
Until this morning.
I went to bed with wet hair last night which means I woke with fuzzy, crazy hair. And since it was a lazy Saturday filled with errands I didn't *really* want to put a lot of effort into getting ready. So? Like a 44 year old woman who acts younger than she looks (me everyday!), I tossed my hair back in 2 piggy tails (also, I blame Pinterest because I found this http://www.thesmallthingsblog.com/2013/03/triple-topsy-tail-pony-tutorial/ and thought "I could do that!" #Wrong).
Not. Even. kidding.
My 11 year old came and found me after her breakfast and asked me to help with her hair. "Sure babe," I said, "What did you have in mind?"
"Will you give me two braids?"
"Yes," I said, "Piggy tail braids?"
"Yes," she said.
I proceeded to comb my fingers through her hair. I marveled her shiny locks; her thick tresses. My heart skipped a little knowing the days were few and far between when she would need this kind of help from me.
As my fingers moved swiftly braiding her hair I asked, "Bell, did you want braids because I had piggy tails?"
"Uh huh," she murmured as she sat cross legged, chewing her finger nails.
I reached the end of the braid and she instinctively handed me a ponytail holder.
It was in that moment I realized what was happening in our exchange. Suddenly I felt the weight of my influence over my daughter and a heaviness settled in over my gushy heart.
It's just a hairstyle. It's not women's rights or political party affiliation or even faith - it's just pig tails.
Nonetheless my influence -
my unintended, completely accidental, influence over my daughter was evident.
I cupped her face in my hand after I secured the second braid and when I had her full attention I said, "I promise to always be the kind of woman you can look up to baby."
"Okay!" she said - shrugged - and ran away, on to the next awesome thing an 11 year old can conjure up when an entire Saturday lays out before you.
When I think of influence I think of important things.
When I think if MY influence I tend to be dismissive.
But if I'm committed to taking this life that I have and creating the best possible story out of it, I have got to be the kind of character that recognizes, understands and yields her influence with humility and grace.
It just took a lazy girl hairstyle on an insignificant Saturday and my t'ween daughter to remind me of that.