The Things We Do For Our Children…


Once upon a time, there were certain things I never would have seen myself doing. Some of them were typical parenting things that I was yet blissfully unaware of.

You know what I mean. Fishing peas out of nostrils, scrubbing Desitin out of cat fur, wiping peanut butter finger paintings off of walls — that sort of thing.

When you have a child with medical challenges though, you discover a whole new level to this concept. A veritable smorgasbord of activities you once thought of as “things I will never do” that you suddenly find yourself willingly participating in.

Things like sleeping standing up. Deciding that a bag of Cheetos from the hospital vending machine qualifies as breakfast, lunch and dinner. Traveling over 2,000 miles round-trip for a thirty-minute doctor appointment. Learning to make your own gluten-free bread.

And then there are the things you give up for economy’s sake.

Vacations, dinner out (with an exception every now and then), movies (except for the occasional RedBox rental), hobbies, new clothing, and even satellite TV. Things you once thought of as essential fall by the wayside in an effort to pare down expenses.

Our household’s most recent casualty of such budget cuts: Professional hair-care services.

My husband gamely agreed to allow me to cut his hair while I nervously took in the implications for my own hair-care.

And I just couldn’t.

I couldn’t envision the consequences of cutting and coloring my own hair.

So I compromised. I made an appointment at the local beauty school. A cut and color for about one quarter of the price of a professional salon. I figured at least there were instructors there to keep things from getting too out of hand, right? Right??

Yeah, don’t look so smug.

Where were you with your cautionary tales when this plan was hatched, I’d like to know?

So the deed was done. And to be fair, the cut was exceptional and the color weave itself was quite good. The problem was the actual color and the length of time it was allowed to process. Which was no fault of the student. She applied the color the instructor selected and processed it exactly as she was advised.

I went out to my car wondering if it had just been the lighting in the school that gave me the impression that my hair was a drastically different shade than I had been anticipating. I pulled down the rear view mirror for a peek.

Then I jumped out of my skin.

I climbed back out of the car and peered in the side mirror.

My heart jolted.

What had once been golden-brown with subtle honey-colored highlights was now electric-gold with not-so-subtle orange-ish highlights. I told myself I was over-reacting and drove home.

Any doubt I had managed to cling to about the severity of the situation evaporated when I saw the look on my husband’s and childrens’ faces.

My six-year-old had no compunction whatsoever about sharing her thoughts on the subject she wrinkled her nose and looked at me as if I had completely lost my mind. I believe her exact words were, “What did you do to your head, Mommy?”

I gamely attempted to make the best of it, “Do you like it?” I asked.

“Not so much.” She answered truthfully, her nose still wrinkled.

My youngest just stood there staring, slack-jawed. I grimly noted the toy cars that he had dropped out of each hand in utter shock and turned to my husband. “Well. Let’s hear it.”

“Ummmmmm… it’s definitely blonder. Maybe we’ll get used to it?”

I appreciated the attempt at diplomacy but he wasn’t fooling anyone. I turned and looked down the hall and caught my reflection in the hall mirror.

The sight made me jump yet again.

I turned back to my husband, “Do you really think we’ll get used to it? Seriously?”

“Ummm… maybe… probably not.”

So it was that I found myself sitting up alone at 2 am, bawling my eyes out during a Garnier Nutrisse commercial as Sarah Jessica Parker flaunted a perfect head of Brown Sugar #63 with absolutely no regard for my recent tragedy.

So it happened that I found myself in Wal-Mart’s hair-color aisle early the next morning before anyone in my family was awake contemplating a deed that a short twenty-four hours prior had filled my heart with absolute terror.

I came home with a box of Garnier Nutrisse’s Sweet Latte #72. I fought off a wave of panic, tore open the box and dived in.

An hour later I looked in the mirror and breathed a sigh of relief.

My husband hugged me and whispered in my ear, “Much better. You no longer look like a meth-addict.”

I rolled my eyes. “Exactly the look I was going for. Thanks for noticing.”

And then we had a good long laugh.

And I discovered once again, that I’m in this for keeps. Whatever it takes.

Even if it’s plastic gloves and Sweet Latte #72.


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