For three years, I've been a mom...and a stylist on the side.
I've washed and detangled, twisted and banded. I've tried styles that have turned out beautiful, styles that have flopped (literally), and just about everything in between.
I knew the day was coming where I'd have to hand over the hair styling reigns; where I'd need to take her to a salon because I'd want my daughter to experience what it's like to have a woman who resembles her do her hair.
Then I blinked and it happened.
My daughter clenched my hand as we walked in the front doors of the salon.
She was greeted promptly with a juice box and fruit snack. Totally her love language ;)
After some "fairy shampoo" and "princess spray," I sat and watched a beautiful black woman braid my daughter's curly hair, effortlessly adding sets of clear beads to the tips of each three-strand section.
My daughter's face lit up and she smiled when she saw herself in the mirror with clear beads hanging on her long locks.
And I smiled, too.
Because even though I felt like we officially bid farewell to babyhood at the salon (and our once tiny 6-pound baby), I was happy.
I was happy for my daughter and the confidence that radiated from her when she spun around the salon with her new 'do. And when she ran inside the house to tell her daddy how beautiful her hair was. I was proud when I watched her skip over to her little sisters and excitedly show off her braids and beads.
And I was happy to once again be reminded that where I may fall short -- as a white woman raising a black daughter -- there are beautiful women of color who can fill in the gaps; who encourage young girls to be themselves, embrace their natural beauty (and natural hair) and be proud of who they are -- both inside and out; and who show young girls like my daughter that black is beautiful.
A version of this piece has been published on ShelleySkuster.com.