Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Silver in the Grey

A few days ago, I made the mistake of asking O if he liked my "silver" hair, while we were looking in the bathroom mirror together.  My usually diplomatic son did not mince words and told me that he did not, in fact, like my "grey" hairs, and asked me with a tinge of urgency in his voice if I could colour it back to "black brown."  I tried to give him an age-appropriate explanation of the dangers of using chemical hair dyes, and how I didn't want to colour my hair at this point.  Maybe some day, but other than dying it, I really have no control over whether my hair is brown, black, silver, purple or green.  He started to get a little bit teary and asked if my hair would be all grey when I become a grandma someday, to which I responded that it likely would.  I tried to temper his growing concern about me getting "really, really old" with listing off all the people we know who probably have grey hair that has been coloured, and that they aren't "really, really old."  My apologies if you were on that list, and if O announces it in public.  I don't remember what else I said, but when I asked him about it again today, he had decided that he liked my "silver" hair, and my "black brown" hair.  Change is difficult, even when you are four years old.  Anticipating change is, perhaps, even harder.
In a couple of weeks, my grandmother and step-grandfather will move out of their home and into a care facility.  My grandma has lived in that home for forty years, and in the house next-door , where my parents live and where I grew up, for the eighteen years previous to that.  It was a strange, uncomfortable experience walking through her home the other day, watching the cuckoo clock come off the wall, vases and trinkets come down from the shelves, and seeing the depressions in the carpet where furniture had been resting for decades.  I can imagine her emotions as she tries to divide up the things she can't bring along, things she's been collecting all her life.  I'm surprised at the intensity of my own emotions walking through her half-empty house, and overwhelmed by a flood of memories that will perhaps slip away when the constellation of her house, the things in her house, her garden, and her presence there, are no longer there.
Sometimes I wish hair didn't have to turn grey too.

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