Monday, January 17, 2011

Only Your Hairdresser Knows

I don't normally get my hair done on Sundays. It's not a me-day. We go to church, then have time together. We talk to the kids on the phone and eat together. It's a quiet day. Occasionally we'll stop at the grocery store on our way home from church for a few necessities, since we live up in the foothills and there are no stores close to us, but it's not a shopping day either.

This Sunday was different for a reason. The only person who has taken care of my hair in the four and a half years since we've moved to Colorado is Ambrosia, and she does such a good job, I just no longer trust anyone else to do it. I went in to see her in early November, just before we left for Louisiana for Jeremiah True's birth. Ambrosia was expecting her daughter Noel a week before he was born, and I just managed to have my perm (plus highlights as a novelty) before she went on maternity leave.

Ambrosia always commented on how unusual it was for someone in her 60s not to have gray hair. I explained to her that my mom's hair was just now, at 90, really starting to go gray, so I have good genes. I'd get my hair permed and cut, and when there was a special event, like a wedding or or for Jeremiah's birth, I would consider highlights just to feel a little extra special. She would do it in such a way that it would grow out naturally, with no root line, just like when the summer sun's highlights fade and disappear as your hair grows.

Yesterday she came back for the first time, even though it was Sunday, because it was a rare day when the baby's father was able to take over child care for her and she could get some hours in. She's not actually expected back until February, and my hair had gone stick straight and was looking its worst. Already feeling blue after Jeremiah's death, looking bad only compounded the situation. She was shocked when she saw me, since my perms normally last 3-4 months. Then she looked really close and saw that I have a root line for the growth on the last inch and a half or so—about the amount of time since Jeremiah's death. All the hair that's grown in since then is gray. Surprise...

Well, she asked me if I wanted to start coloring my hair, and I said no. I'd heard that grief could make a person go gray, but I'd never really believed it before. If I'm gray now, I'll wear it proudly. I loved that little boy, anticipated holding and rocking him, buying little treasures for him, reading to him and watching him grow. He'll always be my first grandson, and the first male Harrell born in his generation. Nothing will change that. And even if I get highlights occasionally, I guess I'm now officially one of the gray-haired old ladies. Maybe I should get some boring shoes?