Fifteen years and three months ago today, I brought my one, sweet son into the world. After 4 girls, this was quite the event, and quite the hormone shift for my body.
My hair was very long, and about a week after his birth, I went to a salon and had it cut. I was surprised to hear the stylist comment on my “lovely natural curl,” since my hair had been stick-straight since the day it started growing. She went on to explain that sometimes this happens with giving birth, especially when there is a big hormone change like I had experienced. I was elated at my new hair, though I was sure it was too good to be true and wouldn’t last.
The natural curl did last, and for 15 years, I have had body and fullness to my hair that I had only dreamed about in my first 34 years. Shane knows the story, and it is not uncommon for him to remind me he gave me those curls. They have always been “Shaney’s curls.”
When cancer came along and I knew I’d lose my hair, my son would good-naturedly tease me. “Mom! I gave you those curls! You can’t shave them off!” It’s been a bit of lightheartedness in an otherwise dark time.
Tuesday, I shaved off Shaney’s curls. The hair that comes back will not be the same; it’s the end of an era. I think this is part of what has been so difficult for me in my hair loss. The curls have been a place of tenderness and connectedness for my son and I over all these years.
It seems silly to be upset by such a trivial thing, especially knowing neither he nor I had any say in the giving or taking of these curls. But, when you step back and look at life, it is comprised so much less of momentous occasions and far more of the stringing together of small memories and moments. Some of these small moments are more poignant and cherished than the big events.
Hair grows back, and I imagine Shaney and I will remain connected through him reminding me that I had a good thing going with his curls and I went and shaved them off. He and I have a far deeper connection than that, and I am grateful that we will be able to continue teasing one another.
At the moment God gave me Shaney’s curls, He knew exactly how long I’d have them, and what would be the cause of their loss. He knew that both Shane and I needed this little connection, and that we both–somehow–need this cancer journey in order to become the people He wants us to be. There is purpose here. God does all things well, and breast cancer is one of the tools He has chosen to perfect our faith.
Someday, Shane and I will look back and have a conversation about what God did in and through us because of my illness. We will see how it couldn’t have been done any other way, and how gracious God was to allow and to walk with us through this trial, in order that we may grow, thrive, and glorify Him.
Why, even the hairs of your head are all numbered. Luke 12:7a