twenty four may


 

Brown Girl Hair Has Left the Building

Bink loves girl hair. For the uninitiated, this translates to long straight hair hanging down, on a female of any age. Preferably, the hair should be visible equally on the right and left sides of her head.

I’ve had long brown hair for 25 of my daughter’s 27 years. At one point, it grazed the small of my back. Bink loves reaching for a lock of my hair, especially when she gets up in the morning, when we part and reconnect during the day, when she is feeling anxious, and before she goes to sleep. Brown Girl Hair has even become my sometime moniker. Superguy has been known to refer to me as BGH (for short) in his texted or emailed communications with Bink, or when he addresses me in a birthday card.

In addition to being Brown Girl Hair, I’ve also been identified as Gooey Oyster. That means soft, smooth, silky hair in Bink’s world. Through no fault of mine, she loves raw oysters. And, to her sensibilities they are smooth and silky soft, like my hair. So she’s used the Gooey Oyster identifier along with Brown Girl Hair for some time.

Bink would prefer my hair down all the time, but my life is rather active. When I am cooking, cleaning, exercising, teaching (or doing) Yoga, caring for the cats and many of my other miscellaneous occupations, it is much easier and more practical to tuck it all up into a quick bun. This has led Bink to write, “You are not bread.” on napkins and leave them around the house for me to see, or to record into her tape player, ”Mom should not have a bun because she is not bread.”

We have been known to negotiate. “Hair down?” she’ll ask. “I’m cooking,” I’ll respond, perhaps for the fifth time. “Hair down at 4:40?” she’ll say, with an edge of faint hysteria in her voice. “I’ll put my hair down at 5 o’clock.” And so on.

I’ve loved hosting long hair at many points in my life, and other times I’ve tolerated it. Snarls happen easily, and the high-quality conditioner and combing in the shower precedes the two hour drying process. No hair dryer, except for the bangs. I’ve no time or patience for the tedium of all that hand-held noise, and it’s not good for the hair, either. There’s also the impracticality of having my long—albeit soft and shiny, gooey oysteresque—locks hang down and hinder my free vision or motion. Worse yet, it can inadvertently get dipped into a pool of mystery goo on a counter, or catch some errant cat food as I bend to clean up after our messy felines. Sometimes, I’ve found myself feeling tired of the process required to maintain all that girl hair.

I’ve broached the topic of Cutting It many times with Bink, who has reacted with a variety of expressions of displeasure, anxiety, and horror. When asked what she loves about her Mom, Bink will inevitably say, ”Her brown girl hair/gooey oyster.” I’ve often joked that, if I cut my hair short, my daughter would be in the market for a new mom.

She grows older, though, as do I. Signs of flexibility and maturity have been showing themselves in the past few years, particularly as Superguy and I push the envelope more. We are, after all, in the service of helping her become more independent, given that there will come a day when she will have to live without us. (Deep, heavy sigh inserted here. Topic of another blog post, or another fifty of them.)

I’ll be fifty-nine in a few months. I’m keen on decluttering my calendar and my environment. I have never been more aware of the need to make room for the things that really matter, like good health, and quality time with beings I love, and for the book that needs to gestate inside me. A new yen to Cut It Off began to make itself known in the past month or so.

Cue new consult with Superguy and Bink. “No,” she said. “Not above the shoulders,” said he. I reminded them gently that, despite evidence to the contrary, my hair belongs to me. And I was ready to cut it.

“It won’t be super short,” I assure them. “But I am getting it cut. I will let you know when it is going to happen, and everything will be OK.” And, you know what? It was.

A few days later, just before Christmas, I walked into a hair salon I’d never been to and plopped down my 25% off coupon. I told the lovely lady wielding the scary looking scissors that I was ready for a change. “But, not too short. And, I’m not a high maintenance type. I’m not going to put products into my hair and spend time in front of the mirror blow drying my mane into submission. And, I still need to be able to put it back, or up.” And then I let go. Kind of.

That afternoon, I picked up Bink from her day program wearing my new ‘do. She’d been warned, and after her name was called she peeked anxiously around the corner to assess the damage. Then she trundled towards me and put her hand up to touch my shiny, freshly-blown-out hair that would probably not look that stylish again until or unless I visited a salon.

“It’s still Gooey Oyster,” she said, and my heart got all melt-y and began to drip big blobs of love and appreciation all over the Pergo floor. My girl was doing her best to find a positive in this situation that she’d been dreading for years. Though Superguy and a few select others would have some sense of what a big deal this was and is, only I knew the true magnitude of that moment in the lobby of her day program. It could so easily have gone a different way; and it didn’t, because she is amazing and wonderful and she is growing and changing and she defies expectations more often than I probably give her credit for.

Bink is used to it now. She informs me at least daily, ”You’re not girl hair but you’re still gooey oyster!” Only twice has she wondered aloud if I’ll ever have girl hair again.

I do feel inclined to tell you, reader, that my hair is not actually short in anyone’s estimation except Bink’s. I had about six inches cut off, which leaves me with layers that end below shoulder level. It’s easier to manage this length, for sure, but I also feel benefits beyond shorter drying time and fewer tangles.

Bink’s willingness to bend and her ability to adjust to this big modification of one of her major comfort items leaves me feeling hopeful and proud, and lighter in more ways than one.

–Melinda Coppola

 


~ Read More Posts ~

Brown Girl Hair Has Left the Building

Bink loves girl hair. For the uninitiated, this translates to long straight hair hanging down, on a female of any ...
Read More

My Bread and Butter

Hello, dear blog. Hello, faithful tribe of readers. My neglect this past month stems not from writers block, but from ...
Read More

Imagine the Harvest

Mercy What if we had drills, not just for disasters, fires and hurricanes, not just for active school shooters and ...
Read More

My Daughter, the Foodie

Bink loves food. In fact, her relationship with it goes far beyond what tastes good and satisfies her hunger. She ...
Read More

Turn, turn, turn, turn

OCTOBER October is like an unplanned drive, the roads back country and meandering, the other cars occasional, a determined deer ...
Read More

In Plain Sight

Deus Occultatum Love sparks and cells cluster, forming flowers and rainstorms, people and evergreens, calling bees and grasshoppers to song, ...
Read More

WALKING

At twelve, thirteen, fourteen months, when most children begin to walk, or make a show of pulling their soft wobbly ...
Read More

Kind or Write?

I’ve been finding it challenging to encapsulate life with my daughter, Bink, lately. Hard to shape words for the page ...
Read More

Temporal Tryst

Carpe diem, quam minimum credula postero, meaning “seize the day while trusting as little as possible on what tomorrow might ...
Read More

Perhaps his name is Three Dollar Bill

The Emissary To the man on Pleasant Street You pace the same stretch of sidewalk every morning, purposefully, in one ...
Read More

Hearing the Ocean in a Tea Cup ( again)

The Sea, the Sea I met the Pacific in 1982, she in her blue-green majesty, and I, in perpetual denim, ...
Read More

Pentimento

pentimento noun pen·ti·men·to | \ ˌpen-tə-ˈmen-(ˌ)tō Definition of pentimento A reappearance in a painting of an original drawn or painted ...
Read More

Tender

Tender. Unless I am speaking of meat, which I mostly don’t, the very word owns its ness, as in, what ...
Read More

Hmmm. I thought I put me down right there

Here is Where All day the wind blew the trees against the house, and my old ears heard the hearty ...
Read More

Dear Future Roadmaker

It's still April, still Autism Awareness month. I'm thinking, as I so often do, of all the people I have ...
Read More

Inch by Inch

Dear small band of loyal readers, I'm pleased to share that my poem, Reset, has placed second in the Light of ...
Read More

April is…

I'm truly grateful to be here to greet another April. It's such a hopeful month, with spring springing up everywhere ...
Read More

Our small eyes

Perchance Perhaps nothing begins or ends, not exactly. The field mouse knows the tall grass to be her world. We ...
Read More

To Sleep, Perchance to Wake and See the Stars

Bink does not sleep solidly through the night, ever. When she was younger it was especially challenging, because she'd wake ...
Read More

Love is a Rendering

Love is a Rendering Telling you how I love you is like trying to find things that haven’t been said ...
Read More

2 thoughts on “twenty four may

  1. Your beautiful singing/poetry enriches my life, is part of the amazing tapestry of my life like the Trees and the Sky and the Crows. Such a wonderful blessing at this profound bend of the river in this particular journey of life for me. So appreciative that l appreciate it. A companion that arrives without notice like dappled Light.
    Thank You! I have such profound Love for You.

Leave a Reply to Melinda Cancel reply

.