Sunday, October 20, 2019


When I was following a thread in my Mission Accomplished coaching group, we ranged over pressure, comparisons, crustless sandwiches and hair.  Many of us struggle, fight, and at times are overcome by our hair.  When I was in college, the look was long and straight, and my best friend had it.  When she first met me (in the woods behind my house), it was a typical New Jersey high humidity day, and my waist length hair was twice its volume thanks to the frizz (neither waves nor curls) that caused her to tell me later that she thought I was the Wild Woman of the Woods--and she called me that till the day she died. To achieve some semblance of the correct look, I would put it in a pony tail on top of my head, roll it on four huge orange juice cans, and sit under the hair dryer (the big bouffant style) for a minimum of three hours.  If it rained, or the humidity skyrocketed, the effect would disappear and the Wild Woman of the Woods would reappear.  Eventually I discovered that if I had it permed, I could wash it and wear it, pick it out and have a head of curls with which I finally made my peace, although after 10 months I often put it up on electric rollers and get 4-5 days of a softer curl. I have some gray, but not enough that I have really thought about coloring it, unless I put a little cobalt blue in there. Any of my children that I have mentioned it to either haven't believed me or don't care.  
One of my daughters dyed her hair purple (she didn't bleach it and you could barely see the purple) and then realized she was meeting with the man who was in charge of her college scholarship the next day.  When she told my husband at their weekly lunch how worried she was at how she would be received, my husband told me later that he hadn't really noticed that she dyed it, and that the man she was to meet had undoubtedly seen every possible permutation of hair color and style in all his many years of dealing with college students. He probably didn't notice it either.
But my kids are used to the fact that I seldom fit inside the "norm." They had to start making their own school lunches when they were in second grade (and some of my friends made their daughters' lunches in high school). Crustless sandwiches were a waste of food, and they had to eat the whole crust. I figured it gave them stronger characters, and they all have pretty strong characters as adults. One of my daughters who now has six children of her own told me that she understands why I only took them to the beach once a year!
I often felt trapped by the school schedule and the doctors' and dentists' appointments and all the other things I judged I had to do.  It may have been one of the reasons I decided to homeschool the last two in grade school. I could set my schedule, decide on the curriculum and when we would do what.  I drove my husband crazy when I homeschooled my daughter, and I'd give her the assignments for the day and the we'd roll dice to see which one we'd do first, second, etc. Those were adventurous years!
I came across a quote yesterday that I had cut out of somewhere and put on the binder cover of one of my collections of my poetry, which expressed many of my feelings of wanting to be somewhere other than where I was. "Every dreamer knows that it is entirely possible to be homesick for a place you've never been to, perhaps more homesick than for familiar ground."--Judith Thurman, "The Hand of Distance." 
I bought a book on moving to the country when I was near despair over the struggles with my parents when they lived with us.  My dear husband finally said, "But I don't want to live in the country. I like the suburbs."  And I realized that I didn't really want to live in the country; at times I wanted to escape from the situation that I was in. And there were other times, when I would be coming back from taking the children to school, driving down our suburban street, and I would think, this is what my mother did when I was little, and I would experience an odd sense of contentment because for all our differences, we had chosen a similar kind of life, and I had a sense of a delicate balance that could be disrupted, but because of a husband who believed that my happiness was even more important than his, I had a great sense of the worth of our lives and an awareness of the small moments that stunned me with their beauty, like the day I turned the corner on the way home from the school run, and plunged into a whirlwind of Monarch butterflies passing through so that I slowed down and drove along with them as if I were surrounded by a glorious cloud of orange and black wings escorting my gold chariot of a Suburban back to my miraculous home.

1 comment:

  1. Love the quote. So true. I remember those days of long days and spending hours on my long, waist length hair, which I used to iron to make it perfectly straight and get that London look. Now I often don't remember to comb it.