November 3, 2014
I love the band The Head and the Heart, but that’s not what this post is about.
It’s about hair. And hearts. I’ve talked about our girl’s hair before. I seem to be a little hung up on it. It had lice at first. It was a weird texture at first. It was full of crazy layers. It’s still full of crazy layers, but fewer of them now. But I feel like I’m seeing a pattern. When her hair is done up and pretty, it reflects a calmness in her. And when her hair is down around her face and shaggy and ratty and she’s chewing on it, it reflects a wound-up heart inside her.
I wonder if I have any such outward evidences of what’s going on in my heart. We adults are better at concealing things.
The other day, she let me do her hair first thing in the morning, and it looked so lovely.
Look at that, isn’t she cute? I mean, it’s weird how her face is all blurry, but everything else, it’s cute. And can you see how she’s cracking eggs for me? I didn’t do an awesome job getting the whole picture in this photo, but that’s what she’s doing. She’s calm and content and helping me make breakfast.
A short while later, she came into the kitchen looking like this:
The braid was out, the headband was gone, her bangs were flopping into her face and she was chewing on them. She had also moved on from helping me in the kitchen to shouting and whining at everyone about everything. I’m serious, her hair reflects her heart. And here’s the interesting thing: she can’t admit it. The hair OR the heart. I asked her why her hair looked so crazy, and she responded indignantly that it didn’t, that it looked beautiful. She looked at me critically for a moment and said it looked like mine. Ouch? Or thanks? I don’t know. But she responds the same way when I ask her what’s going on in her heart. She can’t see when her heart is crazy, not on her own anyway. A friend reminded me of a helpful illustration that was given in this little book (Loving the Little Years). The author explained to her daughters that their emotions were like beautiful, wild horses that God had given them, and that they were the riders. God had placed them on a safe, fenced path, but sometimes those horses wanted to leap over the fence and gallop off into dark, dangerous places. It was the girls’ job, as the riders, to rein their horses in, and if they couldn’t do that, then it was their mom and dad’s job to help bring them back onto the safe path. I used this illustration with our girl, who really latches on to word pictures, and it has clicked with her. Sometimes, now, when her hair and her heart are crazy, she will suddenly tell me that her horse is trying to go to a dark, dangerous place. And I love it when she says that, because that gives us something real to work with.
I’m sure she will develop more self-awareness in regards to her appearance as she grows up. But for now, I guess it’s a helpful gauge, which means I can be thankful for it. And next time you see us, if she’s chewing on frizzy, sticky hair, just give us both a hug, because you know what that means.