Some people think that I have a difficult time admitting when I am wrong. Those people are just never around when I am actually truly wrong. But, today, let me be the first to admit and scream from the mountain top. I WAS WRONG. I TAKE PLEASURE IN KNOWING HOW GREAT AN ERROR I MADE. THERE IS NOT ANOTHER TIME THAT I HAVE BEEN SO HAPPY TO BE SO VERY, VERY WRONG. (So, I am screaming, symbolically…from my symbolic mountaintop)
She knows how important her daughter’s hair is and how important it is to find a way to work through the differences in texture and style. She knows how important it is but, knowing the importance does not equate to knowing what to do.
For weeks I had waited to be able to speak to the mom of my son’s beautiful little classmate but, without ever “accidentally” bumping into her, I left a note offering my help in combing the girl’s tresses. The note went unanswered and I marked it up as a tragedy all too often played out by well-intentioned persons adopting children from outside of their culture. I have seen it so often in my community that I assumed that this mom fell right into that category. But, oh how I was WRONG.
This mom was simply busy the weekend that I left her the note offering my help with her daughter’s hair. When we finally ran into each other, she was more than appreciative for my having made the offer and welcomed any help that I was willing to provide. She knew that her daughter’s hair needed attention and she wants to learn what to do and how to do it.
We picked a weekend and planned to work through the mess of hair. The mom showed up, as planned, with all of the products she was using or had tried at some point. She listened intently as we discussed what she had brought and whether she should continue to use them. We put the products aside and got set to start with washing the hair.
The hardest thing to do, at times, is to listen to your child cry for your help and you not be able to come to their aid. Mom was banned from the kitchen, where the “torture” was to take place. After all, combing very course hair that is not used to being combed can be torture for the child, the parent listening, and the person combing the hair.
I was as gentle as I could possibly be. The poor sweetie cried. I was gentle. The poor sweetie cried and screamed and yelled and screeched.
We took a break for a popsicle.
With courage that I have never seen in a child this small, the Sweetie sat back down to start all over.
She cried and cried and pulled and twisted and squirmed and yelled and hit me in the mouth and yelled and screamed. I was surprised she didn’t bite me.
Standing there, looking at me with the most beautiful eyes, staring as if to say, “I know we are not finished but, can we be finished,” she waited for me to ask, “Are you ready?” And each time, she shook her head, “yes”. And each time, she sat back down, assumed her position, waited for me to lift the comb and then began to scream, kick, grab, cry, cry, cry, cry, cry.
Break for water
Break for juice
Break for a break
Break for water
And through it all, mom stayed in the living room, hearing the cries of her precious and knowing that if she came to her at that moment, she could save her but, saving would not help her and in the overall scheme of things, I was not truly hurting her.
It took 3 hours and 2 people to tackle the Sweetie’s tresses. In those 3 hours the Sweetie gained the love of my daughter who held her with a soothing warmth and an understanding of her pain, rubbing her back, wiping her eyes, keeping her hands out of my way so I could get done faster, and hugging, hugging, hugging, hugging. She gained my love for her sweet perseverance and courage. The mom, earned my utmost respect and a lifetime of help with her Precious’ hair. And, I learned that things are not always how they appear.
She thanks me for the favor I am doing for her all while I thank her for the favor she has done for me by allowing me to be a part of this beginning….their beginning.
I WAS ABSOLUTELY WRONG. I ADMIT IT. I LOVE IT.