2 conversations

At the grocery store this morning, Happy and I were picking up milk and broccoli.  Walking towards the dairy, a lady who I didn’t recognize hollered, “Oh, that’s BF’s baby, isn’t it?”  (Well, she used BF’s actual name but since I don’t even know BF’s actual name anymore, I just remember that she said BF). 

“Yes, ma’am,” I answered.

“Oh, he has gotten so big.” 

“Yes, ma’am.  It’s breaking my heart.” 

She was on her cell phone so Happy and I said goodbye and went and grabbed the milk (read: Lactaid). 

Carrying Happy and the groceries into the parking lot, she came out behind us. 

“I should introduce myself,” she hollered and so Happy and I went and approached her.  I introduced myself, she introduced herself- her son grew up with BF- and then she asked a question that just made my day.

“How do you do his hair?  I have a little girl that I’ve taken in and she has curls like that, but I am doing her hair all wrong.” 

If you are adopting outside of your ethnicity, it’s essential that you educate yourself about skin and haircare needs.   African or African-American hair is really delicate and in need of incredible amounts of moisture.  Meanwhile, if you mess with the hair too much, you just upset the cuticle (I spent years silently stroking when people who would put their hands in my hair to check out my curls.  I know silently stroke when people want to put their hands in Happy’s hair).  So strategy for haircare is pretty individualized.  There is no one size fits all approach.  We did lots of research, talked to lots of friends, adapted from my strategies with my curly hair, and then went through a lot of trial and error to get to the right combination for Happy’s hair.  We use four hair products a day on Happy’s hair- two at night and two in the morning- and if we deviate, we can tell.  For now, the process we have found works well.  And while I might have figured out the process, it is BF who carries out the morning routine everyday while I try to squeeze in an hour of work before he leaves for the day.  So, it’s BF with his low-maintenance, never frizzes strawberry-blond hair that he washes (picture my cringe here) with a bar of Irish Spring soap who executes the complicated hair dance on Happy each morning with relative ease.  Go BF. 

I spelled out our method to my new grocery store friend and then called BF to tell him the compliment his hair skills had been given.  The highlight of this whole thing to BF was that an older African-American woman who has parented a handful of kids that BF grew up with was asking him for hair care advice.  I think his chest is puffed a bit out today.  

A couple hours later, Happy and I hit the gym.  While I was working out, I overheard the conversation of two women who were working out next to me.  Petite, healthy women, they were trying to get rid of “those last ten pounds” and that strategy involved running every morning and then another two hours on gym cardio equipment inside.  When I left the gym, they were each on treadmills, the inclines pitched so high that they were hanging on to the hand grips for dear life.  While the scene at the grocery store provided a feel-good for the day, the scene at the gym just made me sad.  There are no ten pounds for these women to lose.  And here they are, punishing their bodies in the hopes that they might yield obedience out of them.  I love a good workout.  I believe in living a healthy life.  But I never want to punish my body because it does not look a way that I have imagined it should.  Because what I imagine is not always possible and punishment is not thriving; truth be told, it is not even living in the moment.  It is scapegoating for a moment of imagination that may never come while we continue to chase, leaving everything else that matters to fall away.

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3 responses to “2 conversations”

  1. jennifer Fowler

    I mean I can see your husband reacting this way, that is awesome. Great story!

  2. Jennifer M

    I just love that BF does Happy’s hair in the morning! Jim is so hair-a-phobic. Any kind of hair! I went on a business trip for 4 days about a month ago, and left him very easy instructions on simply brushing Gigi’s hair, and then the two moisturizers for Gav’s hair as well as how to comb it out. Nothing happened. I wasn’t sure whether to laugh or groan when I came home to ragamuffin looking children. All I could ask is, “Please tell me you told everyone I was away for the week?!” 🙂 (Thankfully he said yes.) Kudos for BF for being willing to “do hair.” I can imagine that was a huge compliment to him.

  3. Jenny

    Hey Rosie!

    A couple of years ago, I was one of those women on the treadmill! I didn’t work out to extremes like that, but I started noticing that my running was neither helping my body or my psyche. In order to get my body to move at the pace I wanted, I had to listen to what I call “hate music.” The fast beats and the lyrics of artists like Eminem and Limp Bizkit could get me running so fast you’d think someone was chasing me! Always introspective, I started to think, “Is this bringing me closer to God, or further away?” Finally I realized the answer to my own question and stopped running and started looking for another way to stay in shape. I admire runners who love to get outdoors and feel fresh air and pavement beneath their feet. Unfortunately, I am not one of them.

    So, I started recording a yoga TV show I used to do in my 20’s and tried it again. After a short time of doing the show three times a week, I noticed that my muscles were getting stronger, I was getting leaner through the middle, and I started feeling happier with my body. The music of the show quieted my mind. Now I recommend yoga to anyone who will listen. Even my Granny (age 84) is doing it!

    I totally agree with you that punishing your body like that is so sad. It is great for women to take care of themselves and get to the gym…but we should all try to love our bodies and take care of them in a healthy way. I have learned my lesson! 🙂

    Thanks, as always, for bringing up a great point!

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