Thursday, August 25, 2011

Nail Polish and Daydreams

Yesterday afternoon was one laced with nostalgia and thoughts of things to come. It was also laced with a few 'WTF' moments.

In preparation for Matt's cousin's wedding in December, Ella, Leenie, and I made a visit to David's Bridal so Ella could be fitted and order a flower girl dress. Walking into the store was like walking into a wall of emotions. I haven't been in many bridal stores since preparing for my own wedding some 49 10 years ago. And, at that time I was with some of the most special people in my life. My sweet, precious grandmother was with I miss her. My mother and now mother-in-law were there. Matt's sister was with us. Back then, the thought never crossed my mind that 10 years later, I'd be walking into a wedding dress store with my little girl. 
Yet, there we were Wednesday afternoon. There we were. There my Ella was. The place dazzled her. All of a sudden, she didn't seem 7... but more like 27, and I imagined her considering dresses for one of the most special days of her life. I imagined a taller, more mature version of my baby girl standing on the raised step in front of the mirror, twirling towards me wearing the perfect white dress and with a veil in her blond hair. Her big blue eyes would still be the same, and her sweet voice would ask, "What do you think of this one, Mama?" Tears. Sobs. It was a reversal of Steve Martin's character in Father of the Bride. Tears and sobs.
Flash backward, and I came out of my daymaredream... and there she was on the raised step as a 7 year old... in a sweet flower girl dress. She looked precious. When we were done, I would be lying if I said I wasn't eager to get my Ella out of there. I'd had enough of looking into the future.
Since Ella's Leenie recently had surgery to replace her knee, we decided she needed a little pampering, and since she hasn't been able to reach her feet in a little while, every woman knows that a pedicure is the kind of pampering that she needed the most. Luckily for us, there was a nail salon just beside the bridal store. Funnily, it was the same place that my mother and I visited when I got my first mani/pedi  in my early teens. I think it was one of the first of those walk-in nail places of its kind in Columbia. The ownership has changed, but I remember distinctly the placement of everything in the older version. (Thanks to my good memory, I also remember the placement of everything in the younger version of me...sigh.)
The new owners are way different, too. Way different. These guys aren't so, um, polite. I suppose it didn't help that Ella, excited to get her nails did, dropped a bottle of neon pink polish that shattered and spattered paint all over the tile floor. I felt bad, but if the directions to where she needed to sit had been more clear than just a very loud broken-English version of "Ovah heah! Ovah heah! Ovah heah!" she may have been a little less nervous about what she was supposed to do. Hell, I would have dropped the freaking bottle, too. Now we'll never get to go anywhere else besides Sassy Nails, where she knows the guys who run the place.
Having encouraged E that all was well in Nail Salon Land, she settled into her seat and I settled into mine. When my nail guy came to do his thing, I smiled, and he didn't respond at all. Nothing. He just sat down, picked some food out of his teeth with his tongue. And. Burped. Oh. My. Goodness! Are you kidding me? I couldn't help but laugh. Who does that? Seriously. He absolutely didn't give a rat's ass. At all. The same demeanor was held for the entirety of the pedicure. He was flippant about the whole thing, and I would have gotten annoyed if it wasn't so freaking outrageously funny. The other guy, who was tending to Aileen's tootsies, was a little more personable. However, he did catch me off guard when the owner's son asked for money to get some food, and, trying to make conversation, I asked his age. He said, "He only 9. He big boy, huh? Ha hahahaha. He eat too much." And the guy who was "working" on me, the kid's father, starts laughing. Then, one told the other a joke about a Vietnamese, Chinese, and Indian person. Like a priest, rabbi, and preacher kind of thing. Nice.
Our nails done, we quickly scooted out of the salon and made our ways home. Ella wanted to ride with her Leenie, so I was left with a minute to reflect on the experiences. Thinking about Ella in that store with all of those wedding dresses was rough. I want her to always be my little girl. But, thinking about going into the nail salon with my mom many years ago, and remembering our visit to the bridal store just a decade before, I know that I still think of myself as my mom's little girl. I hope the same is always true for Ella. However, I pray that when she takes her little girl to that nail salon in 30 years, the owners won't be the same. 

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