Cowgirl will be twelve next week. A significant birthday for a girl, right? Lots of growing up seems to happen in the twelfth year for the ladies in our family. Birthdays are honored in various ways, but “growing up” milestones are celebrated in extra special ways. You may remember the Writer’s ladies luncheon a few years ago (has it really been over three years?!) and Handyman’s trip with Dad when he was turning thirteen this summer.
These events are not to be birthday parties, and are not scheduled on actual birthdays. Birthdays should be all light and fun, and while these events are fun, there is also a deepness to conversations about growing up that is not quite “light.” The intent here is to create traditions that prepare our kids for the changes that will come as they grow, and to celebrate those changes.
Along those lines, in the morning I gave Cowgirl a small gift bag of some “growing up” items: a makeup bag, some subtle pink makeup, nail polish, facial cleanser, deodorant, a razor, shaving cream, some feminine products that will likely be needed in the near future. Also included was the book, The Christian Girl’s Guide to Change, the very same copy I gave Writer on her special day three years ago.
Cowgirl’s day was a little different. She is truly a quality-time girl, and given a few ideas on how we could celebrate her special day, she had asked for an outing just with me. We decided to get her hair cut, have lunch, and then do some window shopping.
Before leaving the house
The Beauty Salon
Some of you know that I cut the hair of everyone in my family, including my own, and you may be wondering why I’d take my daughter to a beauty salon. In answer, I haven’t been able to master Cowgirl’s hair, and I felt we could use some help.
Last spring we began to realize that Cowgirl’s hair, which we thought was becoming unruly, was actually quite curly. Determined to learn what to do with her curls, I began reading up on the subject. I spent some time on the Naturally Curly website, bought the Curly Girl handbook, watched videos, experimented with different styling regimes and tried a variety of hair products both expensive and frugal. By the end of summer, we had some great success making more of her curls, but just as I thought we had a routine down-pat, the weather changed on us, sending her hair into a tizzy… Back to square one! It’s been quite a learning curve! After searching the Naturally Curly database to find a salon that specializes in curly hair, I found a lady with glowing reviews within an hour’s drive of us. She’s expensive, but I felt the splurge could be justified because we don’t spend money on anyone else’s haircuts, we could learn a lot from her, and it was a special occasion.
Thus, we started our day with a trip to the salon. The owner cut Cowgirl’s hair and was absolutely wonderful. Instead of looking at me funny when I asked if I could come back and watch, she welcomed me, and honored our wishes with what we did and did not want done. She explained everything she did, why and how, even to the point of having us feel Cowgirl’s hair during various stages of the cleansing routine to see how much conditioner should be used. She demonstrated a love of her job and enthusiasm for my daughter’s hair that I appreciated very much. Cowgirl came out two hours later with a stunning haircut and bouncy natural curls, and we both left well-educated in how to do the same at home. Well worth every penny, I’d say!
My sister-in-law, a kindred curly girl, sent Cowgirl birthday money to spend on her special day. She gave me these instructions: “If you find products at the salon that are good but you’re not sure you want to spend the money, use it for that. If not, use it to buy something she likes during your shopping trip.” What a thoughtful gift! We bought some products!
After Cowgirl’s haircut
A Sweet Stop
I think we took the children to the Cheesecake Factory just once before. I remember that day Happy (now nine) was just a tot, and grabbed my food while we were praying, so it was quite a long time ago. Cowgirl must have been only three or four years old, but she remembers sharing a slice of cheesecake with me, and requested the restaurant. I guess the memory was a special one, or the cheesecake was just that good!
We had a delicious lunch followed by an even more delicious dessert. The servers sang to Cowgirl, and served her cheesecake on her special china plate that I had snuck into Princess’ diaper bag (read more about the tradition of the fine china plates HERE.)
Princess enjoyed sharing whipped cream with us!
A sweet stop, indeed!
The mall is another place we don’t frequent, but Cowgirl requested it because it’s so pretty at Christmastime. A dear friend gave Cowgirl a gift card for Old Navy, so we did a little shopping there. We do have some thoughtful, generous people in our lives, don’t we? We stopped in Bath and Body Works to sniff the yummy Christmas soaps and lotions, and then walked around taking in the pretty sights and smells of the mall. We picked up some Auntie Anne’s pretzels to take home for the rest of the family, and headed home.
Cowgirl cherished every moment of her special day. She thanked me several times and leaned over to hug me in the car. This one has quite the tender heart. I cherished the day as much as she did. Being with my daughter, seeing the special young lady she is becoming, enjoying our talks, the day was a blessing for us both!