Adelade has always had unusual hair. True, she wasn’t born with the flaming red hair we had all kind of hoped for, but when she was little, it became obvious that her hair was not your average baby hair. It grew really quickly. Before we knew it, she had long hair. A baby with long hair! And, she always loved it. We let it grow and grow. In fact, she didn’t have her first haircut until she was three, and by then her hair was long and flowing on her tiny back.
Her hair has always been for her a type of special stamp of girly-ness, pointing in so many ways to her love for princesses, prettiness, and pink everything. About a year ago, she gave up princesses. She moved on, I suppose, outgrew the fantasies about castles with towers and glittery crowns and replaced them with dreams of Egyptian palaces, cowgirls, and fashion. Her tastes are more varied now. She loves drawing, building things, playing elaborate games (sans princesses), writing, directing, and starring in all kinds of productions. She is involved in recess drama at school. Mean girls are already doing their damage. She is growing in her faith, is mature beyond her years, and is serious about being a big sister.
I shouldn’t have been surprised when she announced that she would like to cut her hair. So, I write this on the eve of THE big haircut. She’ll be losing maybe eight or nine inches. It’s only hair, I tell myself. But, it feels like each inch is like the rings of a tree, representing a time of her life. As those strands hit the floor tomorrow, will I feel like we are cutting ties with my little Adelade? Like we’re abandoning the little child and embracing the new, more grown up, more complicated, more fascinating, more mysterious daughter of mine? I’m not sure.
But, I suspect that I will feel the urge to plunge my hands into the piles of hair around the chair. I will want to hang on. But, I won’t. I will look into the face of my beautiful daughter with her adorable new haircut, and I will be glad that I am part of the change.
It’s only hair, I tell myself.
She will look older. She will be older. She will keep growing and changing and struggling and overcoming and hairstyles will come and go and mean girls will live forever. But, I will have a lock of little Adelade’s hair. And when she’s older she will want to see it and touch it and she’ll try to remember what this day was like. And someday she may read these silly paragraphs and wonder why her mother was so sentimental. Then a few years later she will have a little child. And these words will suddenly all make perfect sense to her.
It’s only hair, I tell myself. It really is. And, this is only the beginning.