Dear Future Stella,
Due to illness and vacations we have not been able to continue our search for our perfect weekly Monday ritual. We were both ready and excited today to get back out there. I didn’t really have any fresh ideas for us so I was relieved when Current Stella had a couple of requests. First, she really wanted to get a manicure and pedicure. She has been with me a couple of times, but like most new things for her, it wasn’t really a hit so the fact that she was wanting to try this again made me very happy. Mainly because I really needed to get that done myself. Next, she wanted to go to another candy store. She said that was the ONLY thing she liked about our last ritual attempt.
Sigh. Future Stella, if you are wondering why all of your teeth have rotted out of your mouth, blame Current Stella. She is a candy fiend. Definitely don’t look at me. Not my fault.
We went to my regular nail salon, Bella Nails on Pierce St, and everyone was very excited to see her. She really wanted to pick out my colors. This scared me because I tend to be very anal about such decisions, but I knew better than to sabotage our ritual attempt. She picked out a coral color for my fingers and purple for my toes. She chose blue sparkle for her fingers and a vibrant purplish pink for her toes.
She behaves so well in situations like this and I like to think that I have contributed to this. It is so, so important to me that she is nice and polite, especially to people in the service industry. She sat in the chair next to mine and they had to maneuver the seat quite a bit to accommodate her tiny body.
Current Stella is very quiet in public, but what she is not saying out loud, she is storing in her brain to later fire off when she has thoroughly processed everything. She was surveying the room, noticing the way the women were speaking another language to each other, the way customers were coming in and interacting with the staff- curiosity just displayed all over her face. I knew there were going to be lots of questions later. At one point she leaned over to me and started to whisper. She typically does this in public and recently I have started not responding in an effort to encourage her to find her voice around strangers. Today I genuinely couldn’t hear her so it was easy. I told her that she needed to speak up if she wanted me to hear her. Again, she just kept whispering. When she was all finished she came over to my chair and I asked her what she was trying to whisper earlier. She said that the heater they put next to her hands to help them dry was too hot and it was hurting. This is exactly what worries me about her. She would rather suffer than speak up and I won’t always be there for her to whisper her concerns to. I told her next time she has to tell someone, in a voice louder than a whisper. They could have moved the heater. Her eyes got really wide and she said, “That would have been ok? I wouldn’t have got in trouble?” I almost told her that they would have gotten really pissed and kicked her out but this attempt was going so smoothly, I didn’t really want a scene.
I know all too well what it is like to be afraid to speak up around people you hardly know. As an adult this STILL plagues me all the time. I generally like to refrain from giving advice that only time can effectively convey because I find such advice annoyingly impossible to absorb and I think life is all about figuring it out on your own. That being said, if there is any way you can learn this sooner rather than later then I am all for that. People always say that the older you get the easier it is to speak your mind and the less you are inclined to just put up with things that you don’t like. Future Stella, this is so true, and I still put up with a ton of stuff I don’t like because I enjoy being easy going and mellow about everything. To be honest, I like that I am tolerant of annoying things and that I just brush off small things and move on quickly and I really like that you are showing signs of being this way too. This doesn’t mean, however, that you should endure pain to avoid upsetting someone else. So today when Current Stella just dealt with the discomfort of the heater because she was worried that she would offend the ladies- that isn’t cool. I just don’t understand how to say this in 4 year old language so Im also telling it to you, Future Stella. Better late than never!
Current Stella then asked me the sweetest question. She asked, “Mommy, how did you know what to do the first time you got your nails done?” I smiled really big because I love the way her brain works. I told her that I went with my mom for the first few times and she showed me what to do. I told her that I still love getting my nails done with mom and that I hoped we would still be getting our nails done together, even when she is a grown up. She told me that she would never not want to get her nails done with me, even when she is big, like 7. Future Stella, Im holding you to that and I really hope that getting manicures and pedicures still exists in 20 years and that some machine isn’t the one doing it. Being in the beauty industry, I love the human contact that our jobs provide and it would be such a shame if that ever went away. Its an art as much as anything else.
Our next stop was to go to a candy shop. I didn’t want to trek to the one all the way in the Castro so I used the help of Google to locate one closer to us. Future Stella, do you still use Google? Its killing me to not know the answer to such things. Anyway, I discovered there was a candy shop in Russian Hill, which was roughly a 10 minute bus ride from where we were. Current Stella, of course, had to bitch about the walk (2 blocks) to the bus stop and despite waiting forever for her nails to dry at the salon, she walked with completely straight limbs, because obviously bending the joints would result in a nail calamity. We took pictures of our nails on the bus.
At the candy shop she spent what felt like an hour to pick out 10 pieces of candy. Here is what she chose
On the bus on the way home we sat next to a really nice older African American woman. She complimented Current Stella’s fingernails and asked if she could call her Twinkle Fingers. Instead of responding with words, Current Stella just held up her recently purchased candy and smiled. She can be so awkward sometimes and these are the moments when I know she is my kid and cut from the same exact cloth. In an effort to rival her social weirdness, I didn’t respond either and pretended to do something on my phone.
Future Stella, I love you. Current Stella, I don’t think this is our ritual. Not because it wasn’t super fun, but because our nails don’t grow fast enough to warrant a weekly trip to the nail salon. Maybe this can be a monthly ritual though…