It’s hard to believe that me and Hope have been together for 2 years now. Sometimes it feels like forever, and other times it feels like the blink of an eye.
I was so excited when she came to live with me that her hair was natural. I also remember the first time I took her braids out and did her hair. It took me 5 hours. Detangling it was like grooming a Yeti. As the months passed, Hope and I relished the routine and the ritual of doing hair on the weekends. It was a time of the week when I wholly and completely took care of her. It was primal, really. It was an experience that she had rarely enjoyed before I became her mother, so she really relished the time and attention.
Until I suggested wearing her hair out, natural, in a regular old twistout done on wet hair.
Until this week.
Now, keep in mind that I had encouraged her to embrace her curly mane. She has gorgeous, thick curly hair. It’s grown a lot in the last two years under my care and attention.
Last month, I made her *try* to care for it herself, with little to no assistance from me.
Well, she blew it out most weeks, because she likes the stretched look.
Cool. I gave her a few bottles of heat protectant and told her to have at it.
She complained that doing a twist out on wet hair was just too much shrinkage. Too nappy. Too this, too that.
Ok. Rock on.
But leave it to laziness to be the mother of invention and trying.
Running out of time this weekend, she decided to try a twistout on wet hair.
It was glorious, but I only told her it looked nice because I knew if I gushed too much then she would bail on it.
We visited my parents, and Sister K visited with her sons; Hope’s cousins told her that her hair look fantastic.
And well, they are boys, Hope’s prime focus group.
She commented that her cousins liked her hair on the drive back to NoVa, and I knew that this was a vital piece of data.
And contrary to my loquacious nature, I kept my comments to myself and my piehole shut.
After two extra days home (Presidents’ Day and a snow day) Hope returned to school today rocking this ridiculously fly, curly, parted afro. Frederick Douglass would be proud.
She glammed out with jewelry and makeup with her flannel shirt, skinny jeans and sneakers.
When she got home, she casually commented that her classmates inquired about her hair—who did it, the name of the salon, why did she look so fly today, why hadn’t she wore her hair like this before…and on and on.
I raised one eyebrow to show I was intrigued by the line of inquiry, but I kept my mouth shut.
She went on about how the kids loved her hair and that it MUST be the coconut oil she used, because she really didn’t do anything different.
I simply nodded.
We went to her band concert. Again, on the drive home, she regaled me with stories about how her band mates loved her hair.
She concluded, “Huh, I must look amazing today.”
I smiled and nodded, “Yeah, you look good.”
Never mind two years of prodding, coaxing, product purchasing…two years after moving in, my daughter is rocking her mane of hair in all its fabulous, awesome glory.
Inside I am beaming.
I am also grateful for the cosign of the male cousins who validated Hope in a safe way. Kudos.
I can’t wait to see what she does next, and how she will embrace herself next.
I know that I will be sure to remain supportive but patient in getting Hope to love herself, as she is, with no filter.
In the midst of a lot of crazy today, my afro wearing kid totally made my day.