Back when I was five or six, Mom took me for a necessary vaccination. I didn’t want the shot (naturally). So Mom asked me if there was something I really wanted. There was. I wanted a spirograph. She promised if I didn’t scream and make a fuss over the shot, we could get it. The deal was struck. I’d be Spirograph brave.
Photo from Ebay of Vintage 1967 Kenner Spirograph Set.
The shot happened and Mom and I bought the Spirograph. The thing is, I loved that toy with the green knobbed pins and the cardboard where you put the pen in the disk and made shapes. I’d never quite make it to the end without messing up, but I loved it. I also remember in the moment of the vaccination thinking, what was I worked up about? The fear of the shot dwarfed the reality of the shot itself.
Fast forward to now, and the fear of losing my hair, and the process of losing it, hurts and hurt more than the baldness. (Now I know, I’m on day two of no hair, so I may be whining big time by next week). However, it isn’t as awful as the thought of it was, or more accurately, it hasn’t been yet. Telling a kid who came in with a low fade haircut, “Look, we match,” and pulling off my hat was a big highlight of the day.
Freaking out teenagers at work…yet another benefit I provide.
At home, the kids have offered several new costume options for Halloween:
Captain Jean Luc Piccard,
Gru –I told them only if they dressed as minions,
Lieutenant Ilia, a Deltan
The Boss Baby
Ripley from the later movies
One of the Coneheads
Ang from The Last Avatar
Bene Gesserit Sister (Read Dune)
and my youngest suggested, Rapunzel.
We are all trying to keep a brave face and even braver heart about this, because being sad only offers the satisfaction of feeling. It doesn’t speed the healing, it doesn’t help with the memories, and frankly, it drains the help and hope out of everyone when we give way to it too much time. So it’s not bottled, but it is contained for those three a.m. moments. The rest of the time, it’s Spirograph brave.
This afternoon, when I took off my hat and nodded to a young man who gave me a double take, my youngest told me, “I don’t mean to be selfish, but it seems like this is harder on me than you.” and we talked about how the lack of hair meant the treatment is working, and that I’m buying time with each hair I lose. It made her feel better about things. It also made me think, she worried about admitting she hurt because she knew I hurt. We have to be okay with not being okay, and with others being okay in a way we’re not –that’s also something of how grace works. It isn’t a contest to grit it out, it’s what we must weather. For some, the object is to weather with a smile, for others, to learn that things aren’t as awful as they seem, and that this too shall pass. Making her spirograph brave; this was part of the process, so that she would hopefully weather this time of her mom’s illness as something that in hindsight, as hard as it might be, wasn’t as scary as it could have been. I’d store that for the three a.m. wake up doubt too.
The rides home with Anna from work always lead to interesting places, and chats about everyone holding invisible crosses that didn’t mean the crosses we knew we carried weren’t hard or painful, they’re also worth all my locks. By the time we pulled into the driveway, she’d drifted to snacks and weekend and cross country. Her birthday isn’t until January… but I think she’s getting a Spirograph.