My daughter was born with a full head of hair despite being born 8 weeks early. People told us it would all fall out and her real hair would grow in later, but people being people, they were wrong.
I always assumed I would have a boy first so was surprised when I found myself embracing all things girl, including that hair.
We went through the sweet little barrettes phase around age one and a half.
Then we discovered pigtails. We both enjoyed the pigtails.
And oh my goodness, the sweet little ballet bun.
With only the occasional trim, that hair began to become long and unruly, and the fun we used to have with accessories turned into fights during hair washing and tears during brushing.
And that is when I began to talk to her about donating her hair to children with cancer who have lost their hair to chemotherapy. We talked about my friend Krista who died when I was thirteen, but not before suffering the trauma of losing her hair. We talked about what a gift this would be to another little girl.
And then we both waited.
Something clicked this weekend and when I said, “Are you ready?” she shocked me with a confident yes. And it was done.
I made the appointment at my salon and let them know that she wanted a shampoo and a blow out after the cut. We were going to pamper her in those initial moments because I expected a flood of tears. Emma’s long hair has become so much a part of who she is, how people recognize her. I was scared…
And yet there were no tears to be found. She smiled for the before picture:
She smiled in the during:
She absolutely glowed in the after:
We took our ponytail in a bag and headed from the salon to the drugstore to play in the hair accessories aisle, picking out a new brush and an assortment of super cool I’m-a-third-grader-now-Mom clips and headbands. She was giddy while she shopped, occasionally asking me more about the process of the wig making, but mostly focused on just feeling good, good about her decision, good about her new hair, good about helping another child.
That hair…it has been the source of so much joy, and the battleground that has caused so many fights, but last weekend, it turned my daughter into my hero.