I remember a visit with family in Mississippi once when I was little. I don't remember how old I was. I just remember being little. My cousin Tammy was maybe still in college. I'm not really sure. I know it was before she was married, before she had kids of her own. Which was rare. Most of my cousins were all grown up with brand new babies of their own. I was in this odd place too old to hang out with the adult cousins and too young to hang out with new baby ones. Tammy reminded me of someone's cool older sister or baby sitter. I remember on that trip that she gave me a toothbrush. She had painted my name on the handle with paint pens (remember paint pens?) and added two little daisies. One just before the C and one just after the y. She was the one in the group most likely to sit and color with me or make beaded bracelets.
On this trip where she gave me the toothbrush, she also painted my nails. I remember that she told me that I had to be really careful. "Never do your nails too close to bedtime. You want to be sure that they have plenty of time to dry before you go to bed because if you don't, you'll wake up the next morning with your sheets imprinted on your nails." I was split on what I thought of this wise bit information. The idea of waking up to Strawberry Shortcake imprinted on my nails sounded cool to me. It took me a moment to realize that she meant the texture of the sheets would leave an impression. I envisioned swirly flowery patterns from sheets on the bed I was sleeping in that night pressed into my thumb nail. I didn't think that this was such a bad thing. But Tammy was so cool and she'd taken the time to paint my tiny nails and share her knowledge with me that I didn't want to mess them up. I spent the rest of the evening moving with care and ease. I went to bed that night plucking gently at the sheets and blankets with my finger tips and sleeping with my hands outside the covers.
Tammy's tidbit about not going to bed with wet nails would be filed away with the scores of other beauty tips I would receive throughout this life. Mom taught me the importance of always washing your face before bed. From Katrina, I would learn that earrings are essential to any outfit and Janell would teach me to be creative in finding my own sense of style. I am reminded of a picture Misti posted once of a toddler Misti sitting on a kitchen counter as her mother liberally sprayed her tiny locks of hair into curls. The things that women teach girls. Even that old lady in that boutique Mom and I went into to try on prom dresses when she placed her cold hands on my bare breasts to lift them up to put them in my strapless bra. Traumatizing yes, but I always wear a strapless bra properly now. When I wear one.
These are the things I thought of this morning when I woke up and noticed that my sheets had left wrinkled lines in my freshly painted nails.