Locks of Love

If you know Story, you know that her hair is part of her identity — fine, curly, wild, combed only a couple times a week, beautiful, and stubborn. I’ve been at a loss most of the time as to what to do with it (thank goodness messy buns have been in style), but sometimes I got it right. And when I did, boy, did I want to show it off. So did Story. She had perfected her head toss, making those curls catch the sunlight, especially when she wanted something. She loved her hair. Until one day.

One day, she decided she wanted short hair. This desire for a change sounded familiar to me. She had once wanted a mohawk too. I was willing as long as she was sure. After a few Google image searches, she decided a mohawk wasn’t for her. (Google wasn’t so successful in helping me to get her to stop sucking her thumb, even after all those pictures of buck teeth, but I diverge.) She had been complaining occasionally about her hair getting in the water when she drank from the water fountain at school, in the toothpaste when she spit, and in her mouth when she ate. The standard became ponytails — and that worked for a bit — but eventually, the tips got dirtier and dirtier.

She was done. She wanted short hair and she wanted it now. I asked, “Why?” still unsure. “Because the only reason people have long hair is to impress other people, and I don’t need to do that.” Well, okay then. Spoken like a person who used to try to impress people with her hair. Then I asked, “How short?” She shrugged. “Like, short.” Oh my seven-year-old teenager.

So I suggested we look at Locks of Love. She was immediately intrigued. Of course, she wanted to meet the child who would “wear my hair” and become “best friends,” but after a while, I got her to understand how the process works.

If you aren’t familiar with Locks of Love, please check out their website. They are a nonprofit organization that gives hairpieces to children who have lost their hair due to illness. You can donate hair and/or money to help their cause. Hair must be in a ponytail or braid and ten inches long. Participating salons can send in the donation for you, or you can download their form and send it in yourself. Story and I chose this latter option, so she could write a little note to accompany her ponytail.

The ending was a happy one. Story was thrilled with her short hair, and she had the satisfaction of doing something for someone else. But, as with all Story stories, there was a twist. Story asked — rather, demanded — that I leave the room after the cut. She wanted to surprise me.

Curls gone, she looked like a different kid entirely. I guess she really was in the mood for something different. Now, I’m curious to see if it affects her identity.