Tuesday, September 15, 2009

"Silver Threads Among the Gold"

I have been told that I had virtually no hair to speak of at birth, a condition that lasted for upwards of three years! My grandmother was so worried that she would frequently massage my scalp with mineral oil (or something like that) to encourage hair growth. Finally all that rubbing paid off, because at about 3 1/2 my hair began to come in....with a vengence!

At first, it was blond, not quite towhead but recognizably blond. Along about 8 yrs old it had darkened to a kind of golden brown. After having it very long (pony-tail-down-my- back-long) for several years, I got it cut fairly short. As if to punish me for cutting off all that hair, from then on it was a mousy brown....seriously, muddy, boring, lackluster, uninteresting, I'll-never-get-a-date, plain brown. The only saving grace as far as I was concerned was that there was lots and lots of it! (Gram took all the credit!) Once I got the hang of styling, my plain hair would at least hold a "do". So I figured I could live with it.

Well, I now believe that Gram's ministrations might have just accelerated my hair growth beyond a "normal" progression straight into premature aging, because at age 29 I began to go grey!! What a shock! I wasn't even 30 yet and I had grey hair?? No NO NOOOO. So off to Miss Clairol I ran. We became good friends. She brought me to a lovely strawberry blond hair color that was much more suited to the "inside" me. I began to get great compliments on my "pretty hair". How delightful!

Unfortunately, getting it that way was a major pain. Do-it-yourself may have been cheap, but it sure wasn't easy!! It was a messy, stinky, awkward process that never came out quite even. I ultimately figured out I needed help, so off to the hairdresser I went. Having someone else color my hair was so much more pleasant. Didn't even feel guilty about the expense; "You're worth it" became my motto.

Through the next couple of years (okay, okay....decades), the color of my hair was consistently some shade of blond. I loved it! It felt good. It looked good. It suited me. It got me whistled at. Whoo Hoo!!

Now flash forward 25 years (yikes). I lost that youthful appearance that we all have up to a "certain age". My body had settled into the mature me. Glasses got a little thicker every year. You know the drill. The blond just didn't seem right anymore, so I decided to let it go natural. Maybe that little bit of grey would be kind of pretty nestled into my brown hair, sort of like highlights, right?

Well, not exactly. The hairdresser had been saying for years that I had a "bit" of white in my hair. This he knew because it "wouldn't take the color". Ok, but it was probably a sort of "silver threads among the gold" thing. I could live with that. I pulled it back into that severe pony tail again while it grew out. When it was long enough to be rid of the blond and still have more than a buzz cut left, I uttered the fateful words to my hairdresser, "Cut it off!" So he did, to a bit beyond chin length.

As I looked in the mirror while it was still wet, there wasn't a blond hair in sight. In fact there wasn't anything in sight except dark, boring, uninteresting, unrelenting GREY! Oh God, I looked just like my mother!! I began to panic, Jimmy (the hair guy), wouldn't let me go over the edge. "Wait, wait. I'm not done. Wait till its dry and styled!" Okay, I'm a reasonable, rational, and realistic woman. Maybe it was unfair to judge wet, unstyled hair. Right?

Well, wonder of wonders, he was right! Because I have such good body to my hair (thanks, Gram!), all he did was gel and "scrunch" it. Easy peasey! When it was dry this kind of lovely, mostly white, salt and pepper halo framed my face. The color was actually pretty! The cut was youthful! The scrunching looked great! Amazing! What a relief! When Ratchlet first saw it, she said it took years off. Well, I'm all in favor of that! It was still a bit surprising to catch a glimpse of myself in the mirror, but all things considered, not bad at all. Wow!

Until today....I was crossing through a parking lot on my way into a store this afternoon and there was a woman with two young children right behind me. I suddenly felt a small hand slip into mine and heard a small soft voice say "Grandma!" We laughed and the embarrassed mom tried to apologize but I just brushed it off. After all, all the little cherub saw was my grey hair! I guess one grey head is practically interchangeable with any other grey head when you're 4 years old. Its okay. It doesn't change anything. Doesn't mean a thing. Right???!!

"Jiimmeee! Help!!!"

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