Wednesday, July 21, 2010

An Open Letter to My Daughter



When I was the same age as you, someone (we shall not place blame or impugn family) decided it would be a great idea to cut off the long tangled rat's nest that was my hair. I went from hair down my back to sixty year old grandma. I hated it. I hated everything about it. My soft round face was not flattered by the sudden absence of hair. To me the shearing of my hair represented loss. The loss of a mother who was available to comb the aforementioned nests out of my hair. My mother had spent an entire year fighting to stay alive. She succeeded, but my hair was not so lucky. A casualty of war. When my mother recovered I'm not sure what went through her mind - as an adult I can only imagine she now had a greater urgency of getting on with her life - living for herself. As a child I perceived it as madness, because I went from having no mother to an upwardly mobile mother. From where I sat it did not feel much different - I must admit much of that was my own doing as I made some unconscious choices to detach - not to love so much. But my hair, well I am sitting here a grown woman with a knot presenting itself in my throat as a write because the hair was a symbol of what I lost. Someone to sit and untangle. Someone capable and willing to find bows that matched and fuss with curlers. I am a girly girl. I'm not ashamed to admit it. Yes, I climbed trees, and caught reptiles, swung from kudzu, and brought home countless wild creatures but I did it all while wearing a dress and red shoes and curls blowing in the wind.

So imagine my chagrin, dear daughter, when at the exact same age as I, you announced you WANTED to cut off all your hair. I tried being passive. When you oohhed and aahhed over Mia Michael's hair I stated quietly that it was not my cup of tea. I being the pleaser, just knew that would rain on your parade. But who am I kidding, you are NOT me - so very NOT me. You have a deep care for those you love and yet you are never moved by wanting to be a people pleaser. You decide what you like and what you don't - and that is that. So I helped you find pictures of the exact kind of haircut you wanted and I emailed them to your ever so talented Aunt. But I was a coward and made your father be the one to take you.

I love who you are my daughter. I love everything about you. I especially love the parts that are so completely foreign to my make-up. Where you get the inner strength and determination you have is a wonder to me. I love that you could careless that every tween star has long locks of shiny hair. I love that you have not noticed that not a single girl you know has short hair - pixie hair. I love that you decide what makes you cute and that your identity is not braided into every silken lock. I love that you are brave and prepared for the comments that may or may not come from the peanut gallery of life. When we discussed the possibility that you might get called that dirty three letter word... a "boy" you didn't even bat an eyelash. I love that my brokeness is not your brokeness. As Marty always said, "Be original. Make your own mistakes!" So although I am not inclined to follow, I salute you for your brave new do. And besides, it was about time I dealt with all this anyway. Thanks for the jump start.

Always and forever your biggest fan,
Mom

3 comments:

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schoolofmom said...

I love that T-bear is so brave that she doesn't even know it. Beautiful girl. :-)

angela said...

This is so sweet & her hair is adorable.