Like most mothers of daughters, I spend quite a bit of time arguing with Middle Sister about her hair. I figure that at the age of 10 she should be able to comb it herself and manage a basic ponytail. I also expect that she should be able to use a clip or headband to keep her growing-out bangs out of her eyes.
Last night she took a shower, and then I put Little Brother into the tub for his bath. Just as I was getting him dried off, she wandered back into the bathroom with a comb impossibly stuck in her hair, at about chin level.
She and her same-age cousin have been growing their hair with the intention of getting haircuts together and donating their hair to Locks of Love. I think that's a wonderful goal, and I've been subsidizing her conditioner habit so she can have healthy hair to donate to a good cause.
After summoning Big Brother to help Little Brother put on some pajamas, I spent over twenty minutes attempting to disentangle Middle Sister's hair from the comb. I warned her that I might have to cut it. She cried a little, and I wanted to. Finally she asked me how long it would be if I cut it now.
I figured out that it would be just past her shoulders.
"OK then, cut it." She said she was sure. I was relieved, because I didn't think I could get any more hair untangled from that comb.
During the haircut we went from, "It's not so bad!" to "My head feels so light!" She stopped figuring out what kind of story she could make up to tell her friends at school (her favorite was "I lost a bet") and started thinking that her friends would like this haircut so much that they would want haircuts too.
It's still long enough for a small ponytail, and after the haircut I got a big hug. She got a bigger one back.
This morning I took the towel full of seven-inch locks of hair and donated it all to the birds who nest in the big tree in front of our house. Middle Sister approved: "At least somebody will get to use it for a good thing."
It's a good lesson for her and for me: sometimes when you set out on the path to do a good thing, it just doesn't work out. But don't let discouragement get in your way. There's a great country song with these words in the chorus:
"Fight your fight, find your grace,
And all the things you can change
And help somebody if you can--and get right with the Man."