Just the other day at softball, a few girls asked Mea if she needed to brush her hair.
In classic Mea fashion, she squinched up her face and replied, “Of course.”
For us, Mea’s hair is always a topic of conversation. She has extremely tight, curly hair that sucks up the moisture we put into it as soon as it is applied (which means it’s too dry in the first place).
Things we say on a daily, weekly, or monthly basis:
Mea, did you condition your hair?
Mea, just a shower – don’t wash your hair tonight.
Where’s your brush?
Please wear your cap to bed.
(In the store) Do we need anything for Mea’s hair while we’re here in the ethnic hair section? (only found in certain stores).
Are you using all of this product (as I stare at ten different bottles)?
What do you recommend I borrow? My hair was extremely frizzy yesterday with the humidity.
Mea, do you want your hair braided?
Do you like getting your hair braided, Mea?
We have received amazing tips from former students or parents in the community. One once sent us a box of shampoo, conditioner, and leave-in conditioner that we have continued to purchase through Amazon. We only use organic product in her hair and have never straightened it.
We bought her a book about being proud of her hair:
Mike has been the primary hair-giver throughout Mea’s life.
I live in fear of a few things:
- Parents of other brown children will sigh when they see how “dry” Mea’s hair is.
- She will be made fun of because she prefers to leave it “natural.”
- When she gets older people will tell her what a failure her white parents were in teaching her how to care for her hair.
We take her to the correct hair salons when we can find them. We’ve sat for two and three hours while her hair was blown out, conditioned, and braided.
We cannot do this ourselves, although Mike has tried and has successfully done twists.
I share with her to tell her friends not to “pet” her hair. If she doesn’t put her fingers in her friends’ hair, they should not do that to hers.
Once, I was asked if she could be in a district photograph. I begged them to tell me before the picture was taken so that we could make sure her hair “was ready.” Yes, we have gone out without a single headband or conditioning product in her hair (shaking my head).
We have regrettably gone out without a single headband or conditioning product in her hair.
Once, Mea saw that girls in her class were “braiding” each other’s hair. She decided to braid her own hair. We had to cut out the knots later that night.
I just hope that when she grows up and takes care of her own hair, and gets advice from her peers, that she knows that we tried and put a lot of love and thought into taking care of her hair.