Saturday, January 23, 2016

It's a Loc!

Today Lissa got her long awaited locs!  This was such an emotional journey at so many levels.  One of  the things I am acutely aware of is the importance of hair within the black culture.  That well groomed hair signifies more than I think it does for "white folks."  Well groomed hair shows love, familial attention, and is really regarded as the girls crowning glory.  I won't even get into the "good" hair debate, but knowledge of proper hair care is hugely important.  Needless to say, I realized from the day we brought Lissa home that I would need to learn to do things with hair that were very different from what I did with mine.  (for the record that would consist of absently running a comb through my hair)  I learned hair types and moisturizers, co-washes and braiding. I learned twists and up-dos, protective styles and satin bonnets.  I saturated myself in as much knowledge as I could so that my baby would never feel that her hair did not look good or that she looked like no one in her family knew how to care for kinky coily hair.

I found that I loved working with her hair.  It did things that my hair can't.  Namely it stayed where I  put it! It was fun accessorizing and learning new techniques. But my princess is also a very active diva and she also began to make it known to me that she didn't love weekly hair sessions.  She liked the one on one time, but the sitting? Not so much. More than a year ago she saw locs and told me she wanted them.

I confess that initially my heart stopped. There is much written about how white parents handle their black children's hair.  A number of parents have done locs because they didn't know/want to care for their children's hair and their perception is that this would be easier.  (which in some ways is I think true) I did not want anyone thinking that I was doing this for that reason because I wasn't.  I also was worried because Lissa might change her mind a year or two from now.  Which would necesitate what is commonly called "The Big Chop."  Now a hair cut is not the end of the world, but Lissa's has never been cut.  Ever.  When it is wet, it goes 1/2 way down her back.  Eeks.

Rob and Fiona's cousin N is a fantastic stylist.  Not only is she pleasant and gifted with hair but she makes house calls! She is a travelling stylist and I LOVE this!  We talked and she put my mind at ease so today was the day. Locing day!

She came at 10:30 and by 3:00 Lissa's head was done.  The locs were first put into bantu knots to give them a rest while they dried and the beautiful curl that you see in the picture.  And I have spent the evening thinking what a blessed and amazing experience this journey has been.  Lissa and I have been enfolded in familial and community love during this.  We gathered in our kitchen for the day, laughing, eating sharing stories and doing hair.  It was probably the most intensely female experience that I have ever had.  Interestingly the boys all stayed away.  They would come get food that I cooked but carried it off to other rooms to eat and do whatever manly things were on their minds (or tablets!) I really think there was just so much feminine energy in the kitchen that they didn't want to hang out there.

There was strengthening extended family ties.  N and i have become good friends over the years and genuinely enjoy being together.  Adoption is about such a wide circle and my kids are all blessed by how big that circle is and how much love is shared.

There was affirmation for Lissa on how beautiful her hair is.  This is of huge importance to me.  I want her to love her hair.  In our community many black women perm their hair.  Natural hair is less common--flat irons, blow outs and perms are a bit more the norm.  I want Lissa to see the beauty that her hair has and not feel compelled to try and mimic what her hair is not--namely straight caucasian style hair.

And lastly, there was validation for me.  N loved the products that I use on Lissa. She said what great condition Lissa's hair was in, how well hydrated it was (black hair needs to be fed lots of moisture) and that there was no damage. Truly, music to my ears!

The only sad part of the day was that Fiona had an incident at her group home and couldn't be here with us as we had planned.  However I tried to reassure Fi that this is not the only time N will come out and we will have time for us to all be together again soon.

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