Friday, August 13, 2010

Hair… Long Beautiful Hair


If you grew up in the 1960’s and 1970’s, then you probably remember the song “Hair” by the Cowsills. It was one of their biggest hit singles in 1969, and the title song to the musical. I never realized that the television show “the Partridge Family” was modeled after the Cowsills. (You can find so many interesting facts on google…)

When I was seven, I wanted to be just like Susan Cowsill. She was the youngest singer in the popular family group. She had a pixie, I had a pixie. She had cute big brothers, I wanted some. (All I had were two big sisters…) My parents kept my hair short until I rebelled in fifth grade and said I wanted to grow it. I asked my Mom recently why she made me keep it short and her reply had something to do with keeping it easy. I remember my Daddy used to trim my bangs out in the garage while I sat on the yellow stool. Later, when I grew it LONG, my older sister Jill used to trim the ends.

By seventh grade I was Rapunzel. I took great pride in having my golden hair down to my waist. Looking back at pictures it was a bit “much”. I kept it really long until mid-way through college, when I bravely went to a few inches past my shoulders. There is a saying that you shouldn’t change or cut your hair too close to your wedding, but I didn’t listen. In the spring before my June nuptials, I had lots of layers cut. It wasn’t in our budget to hire a hair stylist the day of the wedding so I have vivid memories of fighting with my electric rollers at the church and even saying some very un-bride-like words when it wasn’t looking like I’d envisioned.

I still wear my hair long for a “woman of a certain age”. I must need it for security or because it makes me feel a bit younger. Perhaps I feel it gives me power, just like Samson’s hair did. I spend way too much on upkeep every 7 weeks; trim and hi-lights. My youngest daughter must have acquired my “hair gene” because she loves her hair long too. A few years ago she decided to get it cut and donate it to Locks of Love, but despite the honorable reason she was devastated and immediately began growing it back. I can barely convince her to trim the ends now!

She learned another life lesson last weekend. I had discouraged her from using any hair color on her pretty, sun-lightened brown hair, but she chose to ignore my advice and used a semi-permanent dye while she was out of town with friends. It left her not looking/feeling like herself.

When we look in the mirror, what is the reflection we see? We get used to someone looking back at us that seems familiar. (We’ve just booked an appointment to undo her “do” right before school pictures...)

Having survived cancer many years ago with two surgeries but no chemo or radiation, I sometimes get nervous about the horrible disease returning-forcing me into chemotherapy to fight for my life. Two of my dear friends have battled cancer and worn scarves and wigs. One is a survivor; one is in the thick of the battle. They’ve taught me through their humility, grace, strength and tenacity that you really don’t need hair to be beautiful.

I’ve always loved the story in Luke 7:36-50 when the woman used her expensive oil and her long hair to wash the feet of Jesus. Her hair became an instrument for giving a gift to the master.

My family's hair situation at the moment is: husband (who doesn't have much hair left), my oldest son (who is beginning to lose his hair), my oldest daughter(who is completely comfortable in her cute short cut), my teenage son (who has grown his hair long because he can) and my youngest daughter (who wishes she’d listened to her mama about hair color.) I am reminded that hair is only temporary. I’m thankful for the hair I have right now, but I would choose life over hair.

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