To dye for….
I dyed my hair again last week. The color is amazing and I love it. It’s peach and blonde and looks like Sherbert melted. It is shiny in pictures which is the only thing important these days. My hair has been nearly every color under the sun; Black, platinum blonde, red, pink, purple, green, brunette, ash blonde, streaked, ombre, even fluorescent yellow like a Hi-Liter marker.
When I showed it to Ollie, she didn’t like it. She told me “I dont know what I think about your hair.” I thought her response a little odd but I didn’t pay too much attention as we were in the midst of a busy afternoon. I was saying good bye to our friends/hairdresser and getting ready to go out later that evening. As an experienced hair dyer I know color can take some getting used to so I didn’t visit it at that moment. When Jeff brought it up again later, he said “Ollie doesnt like your hair” I was surprised that she had mentioned it to him, that fact alone meant that it was actually bothering her. I decided to talk to her about it again.
“What’s up with my hair? You don’t like it?” It was Saturday morning and I had crawled into bed with her for a heart to heart. My hair was no longer sleek and shiny but slept on, damp from sleep sweat and my bangs were smashed up on the side of my head like Carmen Diaz in “There’s Something About Mary”.
“I don’t know…..” She responded with the only thing 12-almost-13 year olds know how to say.
“New color can take some getting used to. Is there something more bothering you?”
“I don’t know…” her voice was softer, her head sinking further into her pillows, her blanket pulled tighter to her chin.
“Hmm, it sounds like you do know something.”
“Well, it’s just….it’s not like a normal mom.” I smiled perhaps even chuckled.
“When have I ever been a “normal mom”? I had flourescent yellow hair a year ago! You were OK with that…What’s wrong with this?”
“Yeah I know but yellow is still kinda sorta like blonde.”
“You know this isn’t permanent right? It’s going to fade as soon as I shower. It will fade out in a few weeks and I will be back to blonde again.”
“Yeah…but I still….I don’t know.” That’s when I notice that she is starting to tear up. She’s got big round water tear drops welling up in those perfectly browed eyes of hers.
“Are you crying? About my hair?” I asked incredulously.
“I dont know…..” But I do know. Mom always knows. This is only slightly about my hair. She is concerned about something that is represented in my hair. My hair is the trigger. A hair trigger if you will… haha if only it were funny then.
“You know I am not going anywhere right?” This is where the tears spill. She cant hold them back any more.
Semi-permanent fears for the future
Ollie’s biggest fear in her life is that Jeff & I will get divorced. That I will leave, in the way that I left before. Her nightmare is that I will walk out and walk away from her as I did to Ethan and I will disappear like a ghost. She has never seen it but she knows what I am capable of. Never known it intimately the way that Jeff & Ethan have. Her biggest fear is that she will come to know this.
I know that she wont but I cant make her understand that. I cant promise to never fight with her Dad, never say things in anger, never make mistakes. The next day she said that she liked my hair, that she was over it. It’s been fourteen years since I came back and I don’t know if any of us are “over it”. I don’t know if we ever will be. Scars heal slowly and stitch closed painfully.
It all comes out in the rinse
I don’t know if my psychoanalysis of the situation is exactly 100% correct. Perhaps only partly. She did ask if I was “trying to hold on to my youth” to which I replied “I am still young and growing old gracefully if not maturing the way some would like me to”. Maybe this time it wasn’t about my past the way my head always tells me it is. Maybe this time it’s about the future.
Hopefully it’s about something completely normal like her wanting the attention and me learning to accept the fact that even being the cool mom with peach hair there is no way I can prevent that shift, at least not forever, but I will use every bottle of hair dye on the planet if it means slowing it down. Not because I want the attention, trust me I’ve had enough. I am not trying to delay my own aging, no I want to slow it down because she deserves to grow up on her time and at her pace and when she’s ready I’ll be the first one to say “I love your hair! What color is next?”