Let me preface this post with a little background. In the African American community, hair is a big deal. A really big deal. How you care for it, how it looks, and what products you use on it all reflect a personal emphasis on its importance. And the importance of caring for black hair is not something to be taken lightly. If I don't know what I'm doing with Lily's hair, it would very much break off and fall out. It's so fragile. Also, if I don't take good care of Lily's hair, then it reflects back on me--and it is not a good thing. People would look at Lily and see an unkempt head and then look at me and come to the conclusion that I am not a good mom. For myself, there are many days that I grab a baseball cap and shove it on my head and don't even think about my hair. Or on a day that I'm just too plain lazy to really care, I pull it back in a clip and call it done. But with Lily, I can't get away with that. Her hair is gorgeous but very demanding. It's never a "quick" brush and go. It moisturizer, combs, oils, sprays, clips, bands, and styles--braids, twists, parts, sections, and poofs. If I put as much time into our taxes as I did on Lily's hair, the IRS would hire me. Being Lily's mom--and caregiver of her hair--is a huge privilege. So I was so disappointed in myself yesterday.
The kids had a day off of school for parent/teacher conferences, so we hung around in our pajamas and just played. By afternoon it was almost 80 degrees, so I decided to take the kids to a playground. I looked at Lily's hair, and figured it was "good enough." Two ponytails that were a little frizzy, and her hair looked dry, but I thought, "Who cares?" We got to the playground and were there for 5 minutes when a beautiful black woman arrived with her 4 daughters. That's right: 4. And every girl had their hair perfectly coiffed and styled. I felt like yelling, "Hey, I know my child doesn't look so great now, but I REALLY work hard on her hair ALL THE OTHER days of the year." I also felt like the uneducated white woman who has no clue how to do a black child's hair. It didn't help that Carver really needs a haircut and looks like a Furby.
Needless to say, I spent most of this morning on Lily's locks, and she's back to her gorgeous head of hair.