So I was thinking about my hair today--not unusual for someone like me who's struggled to make peace with her hair most of her life. Growing up in the South with curly hair--not pretty, my friend. I cut it short, grew it long, pulled it back, wore it down, bangs, no bangs, you name it. In the late 70's and early 80's, the Farrah Fawcett look was all the rage; "feathering," we called it. My hair didn't feather. The best I could do were two sausage rolls on either side of my head. But I wore it that way every day, rain or shine. When I went to college, I stopped wearing makeup most days and stopped "doing" my hair most days as well. I finally took the advice of a boyfriend who suggested that I grow my bangs and wear it naturally curly. That hairdo outlasted that boyfriend, which was a good thing. It was also something that attracted my husband to me--also a good thing. When I graduated and started working, I thought I needed "grownup" hair, so I started cutting it short again in a style I called "First Lady" hair. It also sometimes looked like the "brown football helmet" referenced in the film, "Steel Magnolias."
Variations on those themes continued until I left my academic teaching job. Then, I quit my hair altogether. I was so busy having babies and taking care of babies that I couldn't even look at my hair in the mirror, let alone do anything with it besides throw it in a ponytail to keep the spit-up out of it (what can I say--this is real life here). Sometime after my youngest precious angel turned one and I was fo' sho' not having any more babies, I realized I could start putting a bit of effort into making myself presentable again. So, I went and got myself some highlights. They are great, and I love them. But my hair still presents me with problems. I have a lot of days where I just can't get it to "do right," in the vernacular of my youth. But today, the strangest thing happened. I got up with my usual bed-head and threw my hair in a ponytail to help my hubby get kiddos dressed and ready for school. When it was time to get myself ready, I realized I didn't have time to wet and blow out my hair. I looked in the mirror and thought, wow, it looks ok the way it is. I finger-combed it a little bit and put it back in the pony, and went on my way. The old curl and body seems to have come back to it.
And I thought, so it is with life after kids. Things are topsy-turvy and you can't think beyond the next feeding or that afternoon's nap. You can't hear yourself think because little voices are saying, "mama, mama, mama" every, oh, five seconds or so. Then, one day, you look in the mirror and realize you're coming back to yourself--just a little bit. Don't get me wrong--I wouldn't change a thing about my kids or my life with them. But it's nice to feel a bit of your "old self" again. It's kind of like coming home.