Watching Them Grow

As I sit here in room 3318, I hear the soft hum of machines, a barely audible television playing National Lampoon’s Las Vegas Vacation, an air vent blowing air making this already too warm room stuffy, I am having a had time being still. Both of my parents softly snore as they sleep and there is nothing much for me to DO. I feel helpless in these tiny accommodations. I can’t help my mom get better – and looking at her lying in the hospital bed with wires coming from all of the folds in her oversized hospital gown – I feel so helpless. My dad sits in the “comfy” chair in the room, as close to my mom’s bed as he can be. He is napping, but wakes every few minutes just so he can worry some more.

How did the years go by so quickly to bring us to this point where I am now taking care of them? It seems only yesterday that they were the caretakers, making sure I ate well, fixing my boo boos, and reassuring me of their everlasting love. And now here I sit in that role, making sure they know they are eating well, helping to fix their boo boos, and loving them for hard.

I saw a quote today and it fit so well into the flurry of emotions I am feeling.

When you’re a kid, you don’t realize you’re also watching your parents grow up

As children we do not have the awareness to understand that our parents are still growing up – into adulthood and parenthood. We don’t really understand that they have their own worries and stressors beyond our own little worlds. Today I feel the message of that quote in a big way. Today I am seeing my parents in a whole new way.

I pray that they have many more years left on this Earth…because there is just not enough time for me to thank them and try to take care of them – even though it will only be a fraction of all that they have done for me. I hate that my mom has had to go through this experience, but for me, the blessing is a whole new level of love and appreciation for these two human beings who gave me life. And what a good life it has been.

Embrace the grey

I am starting a new journey. While for some it may not seem like a very big deal, to me it is one of freedom. It is one of self-love and acceptance. This journey is liberating and will allow me to embrace this stage of my life. To many, the decision to not color my hair anymore may seem like a superficial, even shallow journey – but this is about so much more than hair color. This is about loving who I am at this point in my life and not feeling like I have to live up to society’s standards around “holding on to youth.”

I am not one of those women who LOVE going to the salon. I tried to make myself love being pampered in the chair for hours each month. I tried. I have never liked sitting there staring into that mirror while I attempted to battle the grey hairs that showed through. Honestly, I hate sitting still that long. My stylist is amazing and always did wonders with my thick, coarse hair. And so I kept going. I kept changing the color to try and feel fresh and beautiful. But I have never enjoyed the time it takes to maintain whatever look we chose.

So, a couple months ago, when it was time to schedule my “touch-up” appointment I did some soul searching. Why did I feel like I HAD to continue covering my real hair color? Now. some may laugh about the idea of soul searching about hair color, and on the surface, it does seem rather shallow. But here’s the thing…to me it’s sort of a big deal. For me it’s about having the confidence in myself to be who I truly am and to not worry about what other people think. Now, I also feel the need to share this disclaimer. I do NOT judge any woman (or man) who makes the choice to color their hair for any reason. It truly can be a way to express yourself and feel good about yourself! I am simply sharing MY journey. And what it means to me personally!

This will be a long process for me. I have really long hair that has been colored for many, many years. I am not going to color it to try and match my natural color, as many do as they decide to go natural. I will be going “cold turkey” which is going to make for some very interesting hair for the next twelve to eighteen months. I am currently ten weeks out from my last color. The process in and of itself will really challenge me to focus on the end result. But it will also allow me to grow as I learn to accept myself and my looks all along the way. The process will be where most of my growth – literally and figuratively – occurs. I am ten weeks in and I’m constantly repeating my mantra, “trust the process,” especially when I catch a glimpse of my patchwork color in the mirror. I’m excited about growing into this new phase for me. I know there will be people who don’t understand or who think I’m crazy, and that’s okay. We all have our own path, and this is mine!