I love my hair.
I used to not like it much — too curly, too frizzy, not blond enough. But I managed to make friends with it over the years and I embrace it for its unruly ways.
Lately my hair has been playing a different role in my life. I am not sure how or when it started, but now this ritual seems to be firmly entrenched in my daily routine.
Because somebody else in my house also loves my hair: Sam.
I think it may have started last summer when we were in Hungary. Sam was out of sorts for the first few days we were there and one night as he was drinking his bottle of milk, he reached up and twirled my hair. He was gentle, tentative. “How cute,” I thought.
That was about nine months ago. The nightly hair twirling hasn’t stopped since and it also expanded to the mornings and to nap time when we are at home together during the day.
And his tentative little twirls turned into grabbing, stroking, raking, twisting, and pulling.
And when I say that he loves my hair, I mean that he yearns for it. He starts grabbing for it right after I get him out of the bathtub in the evening — with his hands, his feet, whatever he can manage as I wrestle him into his pajamas. “Mama haja! Mama haja! Mama haja” he almost begs in Hungarian for mama’s hair. As soon as I zip up his PJs he jumps up and buries his little hands in my hair and doesn’t let go until we finished his bottle and a couple of stories.
I love this, most nights. Especially since the hair grabbing now also includes stroking and gentle patting. I sometimes have to remind him to be gentle with mama’s hair and I keep my eyes closed to avoid being poked, but otherwise he has done no damage to my mane.
There are some days when I would like to have my hair back. It seems like a very basic possession that should only belong to me. Especially when the hair ritual happens during the day, I feel like I need to hide under a hat with my new, crazy coif, courtesy of baby.
But I can’t get myself to make him stop with the hair-love. I am sure he will, when he is ready and doesn’t need that added comfort it provides and I am sure that day will come sooner than I am ready. And then I’ll miss it.
Until then, if you see me with bad hair, you’ll know why.