She was being brave and I missed it….

I was drying my hair the other day and thought I saw my first gray hair.  Oh the horrors.  Actually I laughed because I am overdue for one to show up and  several of my friends upon reading this are hating on me right now.  In my defense I can’t take credit for still having my original hair color. Sort of …with highlights. My point is I didn’t take any magic potion or expensive supplement or only eat kale 4 times a week to have this happen.  It is all a genetic gift from my paternal grandmother for which my sisters and I are eternally grateful.

It did get me to thinking though about my mother which I do a lot of these days as she continues to succumb to dementia.

You see the one constant in my mothers life was her weekly hair appointment.  From the time I was little she held her weekly hair appointment as sacred.  We all knew this and often joked as adults ” Whatever you do don’t mess with Betty’s hair appointment.”

I also know that my Mom started coloring her hair sometime in her 30’s and continued for about 55 years!  She then let it go to this glorious white.  Not grey but a beautiful almost shimmering white.  It actually wasn’t her choice at first.  She had fallen and hit her head and required stitches and was advised not to get hair dyed until it was completely healed so she just decided it was time.

She talked about it constantly and sent me a photo and wanted to know if anyone who had seen the photo said anything.  If we were out with family who had not seen her  with her new hair she made a point of mentioning it or would  ask me later if anyone said anything about it.  This went on for about a year and I didn’t understand why she was constantly mentioning it or why she needed to know what others thought of her gorgeous white hair.

I now realize it wasn’t about her hair at all.  It was one those aha moments that made me wish I had realized it at the time.  Not sure  if I am just a slow learner or too close to the situation.

What was it really about?

It was about my mother being brave, letting go and doing something different.  Something I now realize was very hard for her.  I wish now I had acknowledged it and told her it was a bold thing to do but I totally missed it.  I missed it because it didn’t seem to be a big deal to me but it wasn’t about me, it was about her.  I missed an opportunity to affirm her and celebrate her courage.  It WAS courageous for HER.  She had quit taking bold steps in her life and this was the first in a long time.

While I can’t get that opportunity to celebrate her  boldness I can use it as I go forward with others in my life.

Recently on FaceBook ( I have an ongoing love hate relationship with facebook) someone posted a group of photos of bugs, a mouse and a snake.  Each photo was numbered and it was asked which ones are you afraid of.  I glibly put none of them.  I am not afraid of them.  I don’t want them in my house and I certainly wouldn’t want to be in that snake scene from “Raiders of the Lost Ark” but for the most part I can just walk on by.  A friend of mine put “All of them” and I know she is afraid of every single one.  If she volunteered to hold a snake or pet sit one her grandkids pet mice that would be amazingly brave of her.   This is not the best example but you get my point.

Set yourself aside.  Look at situations through others eyes.  Affirm others as they take that scary first step.  We all understand a child’s fear of starting a new school but we are less sympathetic with adults in similar situations.  Just because I can step over a snake and I am the chief bug squasher and spider catcher at my home does not mean I can negate others fears.

We tend to celebrate big obvious acts of bravery and we should.  Just be aware and pay attention to the little ones that happen everyday.  Celebrate those as well.  As a matter of fact:

Until Further Notice …Celebrate Everything! And of course Keep Triing!

P.S. wasn’t a gray hair..sorry..not sorry…I am going to catch it for that one..go blame my grandmother.


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