‘I love my hair just the way it is’
I tried something new with Ava’s hair recently. Usually, when she appears in a post, she either has one or two puffs of hair in the front and a row of ponytails in the back. That’s about the extent of her style evolution over the past 2 years. Prior to that, we had a hair crisis brought on by a very bad experience she had while away from me for one week (which I have since gotten over but took me a while to, admittedly) and before that, up until the age of 2, she had very manageable hair. I used to LOVE doing her hair. After the hair crisis….not so much. Just being honest. But we recovered, slooooowly but surely. So we’ve been through some phases. Well, I decided I wanted to do something different with her hair. She’s 6 years old now and I wanted to try something a little more stylish and mature. I washed her hair and had no clue what I was going to do with it - which is typically the case when I try something “new” on her hair. Let me also say this - I’ve searched some of the natural hair sites for little girls and what I found is that most of these sites cater to little girls with either long hair or a much different grade of hair than what Ava has. So I gave up on those and I tend to wing it myself. What we ended up with was a faux-hawk-afro situation that was very cute if I must say so myself.
Once we finished, amid the cheers of dad and big sis, Ava had a smile on her face but then retreated to a sort of gloomy look. I asked her if she liked it and she said “Yes, but I don’t think I want to wear it like this to school”. I wasn’t surprised by this and actually wondered when we would have this ‘come to Jesus’ conversation. I asked her why not and she said “Because other kids might stare or make fun of me”. I said well you know what, you tell them that your Mommy did your hair and that God made your hair and that most importantly, it’s BEAUTIFUL, even if it’s different from theirs and even if they’ve never seen anything like it. Okay? “Okay, Mommy”.
Fast forward 10 minutes, and she comes back into the room and says “YOU KNOW WHAT MOMMY???? I LOVE MY HAIR JUST THE WAY IT IS!”
I could have cried but I try to keep my level of sap (which is already on 10) to super monumental moments but this one was pretty big for me. As parents, our greatest responsibility is to love, protect, and teach our children. I am extremely protective, especially of their feelings. And I’m sure we all can attest to the fact that children can be cruel. Very cruel. I couldn’t stand the thought of other kids teasing or making fun of her because she looks different than what they might expect (her school also lacks on the diversity side - which definitely contributes to the concern about whether kids would stare and comment). I also understand that I can’t always shield her from ignorance or lack of understanding….all I can do is prepare her, to the best of my ability, to be able to stand firm on the foundation of love and respect that she has been raised on.
Here’s more good news: she came home from school, jumped off the bus, and said “Guess what Mommy? Everybody LOVED MY HAIR!!!”. Crisis averted.
On another note, as I write this, my heart is heavy as I think about the families in Oklahoma affected by the terrible tornado outbreak yesterday. There’s a mother out there who would love to be writing about her son or daughter, but can’t do so because they passed away. And I have not forgotten, nor will I ever forget, the families of Sandy Hook elementary and the many other families that are dealing with loss due to sickness, gun violence, and any other tragedy. There are so many bad things and so many bad people; but the balance is that there are also so many good things and so many good people. Let’s change the bad but also not forget the good.
If you want others to be happy, practice compassion. If you want to be happy, practice compassion. ~ Dalai Lama
Two of these things are not like the others…….
Smile. And go be great!