“Mom!!!!” I cried from my bedroom, holding the door open just enough to peek my head out.
“What is it?!?” she asked rushing to my room.
“Mom, I don’t know what’s wrong? Natasha won’t stop crying. She just keeps saying, ‘Babushka, babushka.’ I don’t know what she wants,” I explained, praying I would not be grounded for this.
“Well, I’m pretty sure that means grandmother, but why would she want her grandmother?” she asked with a suspicious look.
“I don’t know. I was going to take her to youth group with me tonight,” trying to show my good intentions, “so I thought it would fun to dye her hair red and give her a new look. But I don’t think she liked it and she just started sobbing.”
“Okay, let me see,” her mother said gently opening the door. “Natasha, what’s the matter?”
Natasha’s hair was cut into a bob which appeared to be almost fuchsia after my valiant efforts to spice up her look. She grabbed a chunk of it and said something about a babushka. My mom looked at her and then at me, “I don’t know sweetie. The only thing I can think to do is get a hold of her grandma. We’ll have to call your father and see where they are.”
I gave mom my cell phone. Since my dad was taking our Russian guests shopping, we knew he would be with them. My mom handed Natasha the phone. We listened to her sob to her grandmother before returning the phone.
“Hey, honey. Do you know what she wants?” my mother asked Dad as I waited anxiously for the answer. “Oh, okay. Well, no wonder. I’ll take care of it. We’ll see you at church then. Bye.”
“Well, what is it?” I asked, feeling my neck tensing as my mother walked toward my closet. With a scarf in her hand, she knelt beside Natasha and offered it to her. Instantly, the tears stopped.
“Thank you, thank you,” Natasha said in broken English wrapping her arms around my mother’s neck. She then proceeded to tie the scarf around her head in the same style as I had seen on her grandmother.
“Apparently,” my mother turned to me, “Babushka means scarf. She just wanted something to cover her hair.” I sighed, expelling the tension from my lungs.
Natasha still went to church with me that night, and even though her hair was covered, she received many compliments from my friends. Eventually, Natasha became confident enough to leave the babushka at home during her visit, but I have never dared dye a strand of hair again.
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