Today, I did a very hard thing. I faced some of my biggest fears, and my most prideful weakness. I went on an adventure with my black daughter Precious to a real hair salon in a real city that is owned by a real black woman. If you are not a white mother of an African American daughter with very hard hair….this may seem ridiculous. If you are…..then you understand how scary this day was. For both of us. It is scary for my child because she dreads having her hair done. It takes forever. It hurts. It is scary for me because I don’t know how she will behave, if we will like the results, if it will cause her trauma, and if it will be crazy expensive.
Because I am 48 and still in need of parenting in my fragile moments, I was able to take my own mom along for this adventure. Praise God. She drove us. She waited until we were in the salon and safe and settled before she left to finish running errands.
The hair appointment went very well. My kid was a rock star. We did some retail therapy first and she got some new high top converse sneakers and some cool weather clothes she loved……and she was very brave when she climbed into the salon chair and stared at her image in the mirror……and watched this artist begin to do her hair. Our stylist owns her salon. She is a wife and a mother. She is a grown up business woman who is working hard in her field, in her passion. She was a child of a refugee family who left a small country in West Africa 17 years ago with her parents and brothers and sisters. A Methodist family in Sioux City, Iowa sponsored their voyage here….and they have spread their family wings and settled here in the Midwest.
I was afraid she would judge me and scold me for not being firm with my child and forcing her to fix her hair. I was afraid she would make me feel less than as an adoptive mother. I was afraid that my own perceived failures would take center stage in this salon today…….guess what……………..
Every person who entered the salon today needed beauty work. They either scheduled an appointment or purchased a product, or asked for advice. Black women came in and they may have taken a double look at white mama me in the chair to the side, and my sweet kiddo looking at her hair being fixed in the mirror by Ms. Pepe……but each person who came in needed beauty work. I swallowed so much of the “get over myself” medicine as I sat in this salon hour after hour……people seek professional help to look/get better. Mama Niki….get over yourself. Your child has earned her spot in the salon chair because she has really hard hair to manage. Professionals exists to make her look and feel beautiful. Go to the salon. Pay the fee. Don’t apologize.
My gift of grace is that I found myself drawn to the salon owner. She is kind. She is competent. She is lovely. I want to be her friend. I want to sit with her over coffee and hear her tell her story. I want to send one of my very organized friends to help her pack away her inventory and revamp her salon……I want to partner with her in her passion…..because her passion is my blessing.
We must dare to run through the fire of our fears as adoptive parents. We must. There is so much more to learn than even we can imagine. We must dare to be small and humble and open……and sometimes we must put our precious children into the salon chair of their life and watch them suffer a bit and grow and become more of what God wants them to be……in spite of us.