Sherri Gragg

Writer. Mom. Daydreamer. Dog's Best Friend.

Cornrows and a Ruthless Critic

Last night as I was styling Claudine’s hair I said, “You know, when you first came home from Haiti you were pretty mad about having your whole life changed.  It is okay though, I guess I would have been mad too.  The thing is, I was the one you took it out on most of the time.  I remember one day I had been styling your hair and I had just completed my first set of cornrows.  I was so proud of myself!  We went to let you see yourself in the mirror and for just a second your eyes lit up and you smiled and then you caught your self, wiped the smile off your face and said, “Pa bele.”

“What does that mean?” she asked.

“It means, ‘not pretty'” I replied.

She giggled and said, “I didn’t say that!”

“Yes you did!  You were working me over good.  You said, ‘Pa bele'”

She giggled again and I laughed with her.

Boy, I am glad we have made it past that time……

Bonding.  It is not for the faint of heart.  It takes patience, sacrifice and work but how delightful to reach a place that mother and daughter can look back and laugh together on a first set of cornrows and a ruthless critic’s assessment.

Here is a photo of last nights labors.  The top is not cornrowed.  Those are flat twists with braids.

flat twist side











 “Give thanks to the LORD, for he is good;
       his love endures forever.”

Pslam 118:1


4 comments on “Cornrows and a Ruthless Critic

  1. Jayleigh
    July 23, 2007

    Great pics! It makes my heart glad, knowing you made it past that time in both your lives, and you lived to tell about it!

  2. Candis
    July 23, 2007

    Sherri, my goodness. You can REALLY rock the hairstyles. Claudine’s head is a walking work of art. When my daughter was a young girl, I don’t think I ever got past french-braiding two pigtails.

    And even though you don’t hear from me often, I read your words faithfully. Don’t stop–we are out here.

  3. everydaymiracle
    July 23, 2007


    I miss you! Give that sweet boy a kiss from his white, Southern, Auntie Sherri for me.


  4. Emily
    July 24, 2007

    Sherri, do you have any advice on how to start learning how to do hair? Although my daughter’s hair is pretty straight at the moment it’s likely to go quite curly in the future. I’d like to get some ideas so I’m prepared (and I may have to braid sooner than I think if the children I foster are of dual heritage also).

    Oh and Claudine’s hair looks fab as usual! 😀

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This entry was posted on July 23, 2007 by in adoption, black hair care, children, family, Haiti, motherhood, mulitracial family, parenting, transracial adoption.
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