It’s a small object, usually lost, often overlooked, but of prime importance in our family.
I present to you that the Goody Ouchless Elastics (hair bands) represent motherhood to me. First of all, I buy the 30 pack almost every few months. You would think we could keep them all in one place, but no. In fact, within days, each rubber band has found its way into obscurity. They hide in couches, underneath furniture, in doll hair, in the minivan, in bathroom drawers, and in the bedsheets. They hide in the tall grass by the tree swing, when, in a moment of pure abandon, a daughter releases that hair from the confines of the ponytail and flings the band away as she swings.
The Goody Ouchless Elastics can’t stay put. They’re somewhere in lockers, school desks, a gym shoe, or a backpack’s cavern. They’re under the dinner table, in the doll house, with the cat toys. They’re there, but I can’t find one when I need them.
They humble me. They conquer me.
The Goody Ouchless Elastics have been with me from the time I once brushed so lovingly and so patiently that hair into perfect braids or ponytails of equal height and thickness. Now, my daughters gather up their own hair into buns or loose side braids.
I could mark the years by my relationship with these rubber bands. Today, I purchase another 30 pack at the grocery store. I keep them handy. I sneak one into a gym bag or a few by their hairbrushes. I keep a stockpile in my own bathroom. In a month, I’ll have to purchase more.
I don’t understand what’s happening; they’re here, but then they’re gone.
They symbolize the inevitable. They mark how one day I’ll vacuum this old house and not once have to stop to slip a found rubber band around my wrist. Not once will I scramble about in the morning, looking for that hair tie for a girl late for school.
On that day, I’ll send a package in the mail to my daughters with the Goody Ouchless Elastics 30 Pack.