Tuesday, May 26, 2009

A Girl’s First Shave

I gave my twelve-year-old daughter her first razor today. Hot pink, with her name written in black with a Sharpie.

I recently recalled how I had taken a razor to my leg at the age of 11 without my mother’s permission. A boy had teased me at school about having hairy legs. In retrospect, I think he was just making a joke about my stockings being too dark, but I was so mad I decided to do something about it. I wound up shaving off a good portion of the skin on my foreleg. My mom knew immediately what had happened and just said I should have asked first.

So I figured I should let her know how to do it, in case she was ready.

“You can get away with not doing this for a while,” I say, “It’s up to you. Once you do it, there’s no going back. You’ll have to do it for the rest of your life.”

She eagerly takes in my advice as I demonstrate how to shave the lower leg with the covered razor. I use the phrase “be careful” several times.

“Use a lot of soap suds, and go gently,” I warn, “and you will probably cut yourself anyway, so have band-aids nearby.”

She took a shower much earlier than usual, and came back smelling like she’d used lots of soap suds. “Did you shave?” I ask.

“Yes,” she replies, beaming.

“Can I see?”

She shows me her lower leg and I feel it.

“Wow, it’s really smooth! Did you cut yourself?”

“Just my finger when I opened the razor,” she says, showing her battle scar, “I think I’ll put a band-aid on it.”

There we go, another rite of passage safely traversed.

Some mothers get really sad when they see their daughters growing up. I don’t know why this is. God gave us children so we can bring them up “in the way they should go, and when they grow old they shall not depart from it” (as the Proverb goes). Maybe if we’ve made peace with our own childhood it makes it easier to see our own progeny go through it. Whatever it may be, I see her growing up and think it’s all good.


Angie said...

Ouch! That hurt just thinking about her cutting her finger with the razor!

Congratulations on this latest rite of passage!

Loren Christie said...

That was nice that you bought her a special razor and talked to her about shaving...Like you said, it's not about that, it's about growing up.

Elizabeth Kathryn Gerold-Miller said...

Don't worry, it was that part on the back of the thumb that you hardly feel. Sorry if I made you flinch! That razor cover was tricky - I should have shown her how to take it off.

Barb, sfo said...

Tell her to lather up with hair conditioner instead of soap. It works great and leaves your legs soft too. (It's a good way to use up that cheap conditioner that smells good but maybe left the hair too greasy...)

Elizabeth Kathryn Gerold-Miller said...

Hi Barb, I also like to use Noxzema if I have to shave and don't have time to hop in the shower. I didn't tell her to use conditioner because everybody steals mine and I can't brush my hair if I don't use it!