One could go on and on forever talking about anything, but I'll just touch on it here.

Saturday, May 25, 2013

No Hair for My Hairbrush

Upon waking, I turn to the sleepy man next to me. He looks peaceful, comfortable, and . . . . wait a minute! He looks different! What's going on? He resembles my husband, yet something isn't right. My heart beats faster because this isn't a dream. I look closer.

Luke's long blond locks are gone!

He opens his eyes, smiles at me, then sees my shocked expression. His hands fly to his head. Then he gives me a mirrored look of horror.

OK, then we laugh.


Though Luke and I have known each other since before our teen years, during our entire friendship/courtship/romance/marriage his hair has only been long. He goes for haircuts occasionally, but his hair had recently gotten well past his shoulders. The heat of summer is coming and he decided it was time to take off a few inches. We figured it would still be long enough to put in a ponytail, but then Luke asked, "Hey, what's the length it has to be to donate?" Before I knew it, we were driving to the hair salon.

I could have stayed home, but I needed to chaperone the cutting. It wasn't that I worried- much- about the outcome but more that I needed to keep an eye on the woman doing the cutting. Too often Luke comes back with tales of a large-bosomed woman pressing into his neck as she styles and chats away. This time seemed to go well, but once the ponytail was removed from Luke's head, the woman couldn't stop talking about and touching the hair. She took it over to another stylist. "Check this out! Feel this hair!" she cooed. "This is softer and nicer than most women's hair!' Yeah, Luke said he hears that a lot too. Oh my!

Then I looked at my husband's head. So little hair left! The only chance for ponytails was if he did a bunch of tiny ones all over the top. And the snipping continued. We had both talked about him growing it out again, which is what he explained to the stylist, but I realized that it wasn't going to happen overnight. Luke's hair in a plastic bag, we soon left for home. I kept staring over at him, reaching up and touching his fuzzy head. I couldn't believe how different he looked. He couldn't believe it either.


The story of the hair, ghost written by Annie Hindman:

The last time I had short hair was in 2005. It had always been short, from way back to the days of sitting at Grandma Betty's kitchen table in that old highchair, "two or three on the sides and a little longer on top." Then, during early adulthood, certain events occurred and I didn't feel like doing much of anything, especially when it came to cutting my hair. Friends and family members started giving me a hard time about getting my hair cut, so, of course, I just didn't.

As my hair grew, something began to change for me. One time on a Horizon airline flight to Portland, the stewardess said I looked just like one of the members of some rock band that had flown the day earlier. Then complete strangers would come up to me and comment. My hair had become a conversation starter. For an extreme introvert who was recovering from a pretty rough patch in my life, this was a completely new experience. As my hair grew, I became far more approachable. I learned how to flirt again and carry on conversations. Much like Samson's hair gave him strength, mine gradually helped me comfortably interact with people again.

And then of course, there was the time at Walmart when I was stooped over looking for something on a lower shelf and the 5'4" salesman touched me on the shoulder and said, "Excuse me, ma'am." The look of horror on his face when a 6'1" man with a full beard stood up to look down at him was priceless.

I discovered that people make lots of assumptions about a man with long hair. A man has to be secure in his own identity to wear his hair that way. I imagine that there are thousands of men out there who are too insecure in who they are as a person and as a man to risk standing out. For me, it was a perfect fit because I was going through the process of learning just exactly who I was. I learned to not be afraid and to not draw my identity from what other people thought of me. I learned that Jesus died for me so that I could be adopted into His family. That is true love. How could the opinions of others begin to compare with that?

Annie and I have some dear friends who are struggling with cancer, one as an active participant, the other in a support role. They have completed their 4th round of chemo. Hearing about their journey, as well as the journeys of several other friends and family members who have struggled with cancer, got me to thinking about a lot of things. Among them are purpose, family (we're having a baby soon!), and identity. And I thought about my hair. I could cut three or four inches off and throw it in the trash... or... I could cut off the last 8 years and give someone's daughter (or someone's son) a new identity.   :)

My hair's journey soon complete, I not only get to start another path of my own but the baby won't be able to pull my hair!

Thursday, May 16, 2013

My Five Dylans: On Why We Won't Name Our Baby Dylan (even though it's a great name)

We were at a hair salon last night (more on that in my next post) and chatting with the two stylists about  babies. (My belly really gets people talking.) Both women are mothers, one pregnant with her third child. At some point the conversation got around to names. We shared our picks (sorry, not saying them on here yet, though some of you know!) and then Luke, who claims he's terrible with remembering names, noted that I dislike the name Dylan because of some of my past student encounters.

"Thanks, guys," said the stylist who's expecting. "That was my boy pick!"

I quickly spoke up saying that Dylan is truly a great name; it just won't work for me.

That got me reflecting once again on the Dylans and Dillons of my teaching career. I've encountered girls with this name, but my trauma involves boy Dylans. Five to be exact. Maybe six. I feel as if I'm forgetting one. (Perhaps I'm just remembering Dylan from 90210. Now he was a troubled guy!) In nearly every school where I've taught, I've met a troubled, ornery, neglected boy named Dylan. Two scared me. One was a joy to work with but got messed up in the wrong crowd. The other two tried to drive me crazy. My heart cried for them all.

What did these Dylans have in common besides their name? I learned very little about most of them because they didn't stick around long, but four of them had been kicked out of school at different times for fighting or making threats or failing classes. The two I call scary got expelled from our high school permanently. My artistic little Dylan who was put in alternative school with all the older boys ended up accused of stealing. One who sat in the back of my class tying himself to his seat and throwing things at girls became a dad before he was 16. Only one Dylan may have escaped expulsion; he just liked to antagonize me during lessons.

My guess is that these boys didn't feel loved. I never met parents or guardians for any of them. I heard bits and pieces about the chaotic home lives they had, but I tried hard not to judge the adults I didn't know. The negative talk all around me made me angry. Teachers and principals were quick to write off these boys. I didn't know how to help them, but it seemed terribly wrong to discuss the kids the way we did. Even if the boys never heard anything that was said, they knew how "the powers that be" perceived them. I tried to beam positive thoughts and use upbeat language whenever I could. But my time with each Dylan was so limited. I felt so helpless.

I don't believe a name can be cursed, and maybe it would actually be a nice tribute to my Dylans to let my child share the name. Son of the sea. (or could it be daughter of the sea?) The sea is magnificent but a turbulent place. I don't want to bring a storm into my family. I can only pray that each Dylan has found a calm to replace the madness.

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

At Least the Second Time I Had My Pants On

Bump checkups always include excitement. I never tire of listening to the heartbeat, looking at the surreal images of Bump during the ultrasound, watching my belly ripple as I count movements for the NST. When the doctor tells me all is going well, that makes my lengthy visits even better.

Today, at my appointment for week 38, I got to experience all the usual thrills with an unexpected surge of adrenaline.

Head down, "camera" shy, Bump was in great position for the ultrasound. "This baby has a lot of hair," the tech told me. She also said that Bump is in the 90th percentile for almost all measurements. I hope that the weight estimate of a little over 8 lbs. is either on the heavy side of guessing or that Bump doesn't put on too much more weight before birth!

My next stop was for the non-stress test, or NST. Not only did I get gel smeared on my belly and two straps belted firmly around me- one attached to the fetal heart rate monitor and one to check my contractions- but I also got to strip from the waist down and wrap in a very small sheet. The reason for the disrobing was not for the NST but so I'd be ready when the doctor came in to "check my progress." So, lying down in a room with hot fluorescent lights glaring on me, I waited all alone and hoped the doctor would arrive soon. Still, clicking the button every time Bump moved and feeling the tickles inside me, I couldn't really complain.

Suddenly, the sound of Bump's heartbeat was drowned out by a piercing wail. Seriously? The fire alarm? I waited for a nurse to rush in and unstrap me. No one came. I realized I had to get out of there. Struggling, I sat up a bit and undid one belt. Goo was all over me, my pants were far away on a chair, and I had no idea if fire blocked my exit. Thankfully, a nurse came to my rescue and helped me with the other belt and wiped my belly clean. She told me she would wait for me on the other side of the door while I got dressed. Unfortunately, she didn't close the door. Do you know how hard it is to put on underwear and pants while pregnant with a beach ball? And to do it quickly is nearly impossible. Somehow I managed before any firemen came down the hall!

I followed the crowd of women out of the building and across the street. My appointment wasn't over, but that wasn't the only reason I couldn't actually leave: my car was in the parking garage. We didn't see smoke or flames, and the firetruck didn't arrive very promptly. I realized it could be my longest doctor's visit ever. And, naturally, I had to use the restroom.

Happily, it wasn't long before I was half naked on a table again. The doctor finally came and gave me a good report, told me I was making progress, and zipped away to catch up with other patients. I drove to work to finish the day, excitement over.

At school I told my coworkers my humorous story along with all the Bump updates. Then I went to make photocopies. There was an odd beeping noise in the office and I wondered about it a little, but people were in the building working on wiring or something so I decided to ignore it. Suddenly, what do you know, a familiar wailing sound greeted my ears. I looked at the secretary. I looked at another coworker. Planned drill? Nobody seemed to know. Well, better evacuate. As we walked out into the field we learned that it was not a drill, but it wasn't a fire either. I shook my head and laughed. At least this time I was already dressed!