Listen, I woke up last spring with a wave in my hair.
You may not understand the full gravity of this reality. So let me explain. I come from the plains. From people who have very little heritage. We don’t say: “We’re German,” the way my husband’s family does. We don’t say anything. We’re from Texas, that’s what we are. We are part Oklahoman too; we’ll give you that.
Yes, my aunt studied our ancestry once to find that that we’re from Europe. And a tiny smidgen of Cherokee. Europe, you say? Yes, Everywhere, Europe.
The dominant gene in our family is blonde fine hair and cute button noses that indicate no geographical place. Though my husband looks German (dark hair, strong nose), my genes have dominated in the baby-making department. Blonde and button it is, friends.
When I was a kid my mom felt so sad about my fine (thin!) hair that she took to getting it permed as often as possible. “So it’ll have some body!” Don’t blame her. It was 1988. Of course she permed my hair.
And in the wind-whipped land of Texas’ High Plains, growing my hair out into three tangled strips was not a good idea. So we kept it short. Never longer than shoulder length.
When I met Chris he thought my hair would be lovely long. I grew it past my shoulders for our wedding and it was nice (when the wind didn’t blow). But it was fine and stringy and eventually, I cut it cute and trendy and short.
So you’ll understand that I don’t understand what’s happened to me.
It took a year after Brooksie was born to realize that at some point in the hormonal hoopla that attacked my body, my hair doubled in size. I’m serious, twice as much grew in. (That may sound shocking but understand its ponytail may now be the size of a quarter when it was once a nickel…or maybe it was a dime and now it’s a nickel. You understand.) It doesn’t feel like my hair.Also, it’s still straight on top, but underneath, it’s a crazy mess of waves. My people don’t know what to do with something like this. I’ve never owned a straightener. (I bought one. It’s pink.) I’ve never complained about rainy/humid days. I am now, thankyouverymuch.
All those years in high school when I watched girls brush their thick monster strands in class or I jealously eyed the cute girls whose hair turned to sweet curls in the thundery afternoon. Now, I’m one of them. And I can’t go back.
Isn’t it weird how something so personally connected to us can just change? And I’m forced to change with it. Thick hair takes a lot longer to: 1) blowdry 2) straighten and 3) not put in a ponytail. None of us are used to this. (We keep being late to church because Mommy cannot stop fixing her hair.)
Why, you say, this long digression on your hair? (We don’t care, you say.)
Here’s what I’m getting at (I think): These children change us. They change our outsides and our guts. They change how we view the world and how we respond in it. They change how we sleep and how we plan our lives and our days. They change how we view movies and how we view the world.
I like the idea of children marking my body. Because once one has come from you, there is no going back. You are a mother. That’s what I’ve been thinking as I stand in front of the mirror, combing and combing that wet tangled mess. I am a mother: Of course they’ve changed me.
And everything I understand about the world has shifted. Not just once. Not just the first time I held my firstborn. It changed again with my second son. And it should.
Of course my hair should demand more of me. Giving and shaping life is sacred. It changes the very fiber (I mean that literally, don’t I?) of our selves.