Sunday, January 17, 2016

Lissa's hair

Today was a busy day.  KC was tied up with a group from his dance school. They visited area assisted living facilities and performed for them.  He was so excited that he was old enough to be part of this at last.  He woke extra early this morning, breakfasting and getting dressed very early "just to be ready, Ooma."  He was tired but grinning when I picked him up at the end of the day, happy that he had brought joy to others, happy to have danced all day.

The rest of the gang and I went to church, I love that Rob has continued to want to go to church and that our church is so intentional about the young adult population being welcomed and affirmed in such healthy ways.

Back home there was as always, cleaning to do.  After fetching KC and cooking supper I needed to finish Lissa's hair.  I was putting it in medium sized braids until N comes out Saturday to put in her locs. I was thinking while I worked on her hair how much I love it.  Her hair is thick, really really thick.  It is very tightly coiled, but soft and healthy.  When it is wet it is really long. Even dry, if I braid it, it goes part way down her back.

I was petrified of "doing hair" when I first became a mom of black children.  I am well aware of the cultural importance of doing it "right" but I am equally aware of the fact as there are in any population, there are black folks who know how to do hair and black people who do not. Winnowing out the true knowledge from the folk lore was a time consuming mission for a few years.

Doing the hair of a very active on the go child was a challenge too.  Lissa till recently did not like to sit for more than 20 minutes.  So I had to create styles that looked cute that I added to each day for a period of days.  It sounds weird, but it did work.  And she has gotten easier as she got older.  Tonight she sat contentedly for the hour plus while I finished conditioning and detangling, and finally, braiding her hair.

I was thinking about how much I honestly love having my hands in her hair when I saw a picture on line of an elderly black woman having her hair braided.  And I thought about how lucky I am to have this opportunity for focussed time with my daughter.  It is just us and we chat or not, but are present only with each other for that time.

As she has gotten older she has begun to learn a bit of what I do to keep her hair healthy and to have more input into style etc. We have talked about why we don't relax her hair. Why we don't color her hair, why her hair is long and lush and how we keep it that way. There is a special bond that comes with "hair time" and I think that it is somewhat unique to black hair.  I am privileged to have the opportunity to share that with Lissa.

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