This one is for Karen...I hope you have a tissue handy.
Teresa has the most beautiful hair. It is thick and wavy and has reddish highlights that catch the sun. She loves her hair. She has always loved her hair. Even when she was a year old, she would sit patiently and let me fix her hair and put little doodles in it. She would ask to be lifted to a mirror so she could admire her beautiful locks. Her first haircut was at nearly four and we took off just a smidge because she couldn't bear to get more than that cut off. (I don't count the time Sam got ahold of a pair of scissors and trimmed an eighteen inch long lock of hair from the top of her head.) Every morning I had to pull the comb through the snarls and tangles while she cried and hollered. I explained that if she had it cut shorter it would be so much easier to care for, but she would adamantly refuse to even entertain the idea.
About a month ago she heard me talking about how my friend's daughter got her hair cut and donated the hair to locks of love. Not long after, on her own, Teresa came to me and mentioned that she wanted to get her hair cut and donate hers to locks of love. I admit, my heart did a little jump. As much as I would welcome relief from the torture sessions of brushing and fixing...cut her hair!!??...I don't know that I really wanted her to get her hair cut that short. She kept insisting though, so the day before her birthday I took her to the salon. She climbed up into the chair and the stylist combed out her waist length hair. She then informed me she'd need to cut off twelve inches in order to get the ten usable inches they needed for Locks of Love. Not even hearing this deterred Teresa from her resolve. I was a little sad to see the hair gathered back and chopped off, but oh so proud of my girl. Because even though she is turning seven and seems so big, she is still just a little girl. A little girl who thinks long hair means beautiful.
Or she did. I caught her stealing looks into the mirror as the stylist worked and couldn't help smiling at the little grin that danced around her face. She loved her haircut and has yet to stop looking into the mirror to admire her new look. I look at her and see that beautiful face I love and am so proud of the person she's showing herself to be.