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Saturday, April 16, 2016

Influence



The word influence conjures up grandness for me. 
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.


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