Death, Dyeing and the possibility of becoming a Skunk Head

Death, Dyeing and the possibility of becoming a Skunk Head April 29, 2011

I turn 46 tomorrow, and although I’ve already hit the mid-way point of my life, somehow the number 46 seals it for me. I’m sliding down the second half of my life towards death and freaking out just a little bit!
I always hoped I’d be the sort of woman who aged gracefully, who accepted her gray hairs, who grew wiser and kindlier and more open with each passing year.  But now I’m not so sure.
Take hair dye for instance.  I swore I’d never dye my hair because in Hawaii there are all sorts of Asian old ladies walking around with white roots that turn brown then black—the skunk look. 
I’ve always thought that women dye in their early 40s because they feel too young to gray, only to wake up in their 50s realizing it’s normal to be gray but then not bearing to face the process of growing it all out. 
I’ve also noticed that the women who dye also have moms who dyed.  Both Mama and Scott’s mom never dyed so I have a little more permission to follow their paths.  Because Scott’s been around Hawaii and seen the skunk-headed old ladies everywhere, he’s asking me not to take the plunge because he knows how I can let things go.  He knows if I dye there’s a good chance his wife will be a skunk head in no time.
But as the gray hairs proliferate, my former resolution begins to waver.  Especially when I notice how I’m in the minority among women my age.  During Ren’s Sleeping Beauty play I served on the makeup committee.  We grayed the hair of the kings and queens and royal courtiers between Aurora’s birth and 16 year birthday. 
The head make-up lady said, “I don’t think this is right—any self-respecting queen would never let herself go gray,” and when I looked at the heads of the whole committee, sure enough, I was the only one who didn’t dye.
It was even a little more sobering to think I have an almost 15 year old, so I have aged just as Sleeping Beauty’s mom did.
Ren, as Robert, chief steward to the king, really wanted his hair grayed—we couldn’t spray enough gray for him and it showed up well against his brown hair—but when I pointed out his hair shouldn’t look much grayer than mine is, he said, “Yeah, but you’re getting pretty gray Mom!”
Graying and sliding down the second half of my life to death. 
Happy birthday to me.

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