Monday, April 09, 2012

True Beauty, part 2

I'm not sure where to start.  Overwhelmed, thankful, humbled, overjoyed and just plain amazed don't quite cover the multitude of emotions I've experienced these past several days.  I would have never in my life imagined as I sit Wednesday afternoon writing so quickly about what felt to me like such a  life-defining choice, trying to beat that clock marking the end of naptime, that I would receive the response I've had after writing about shaving my head.  Shaving my head!  If I had questions about people's ability to have compassion on a woman who was losing her hair and looking at taking the last of it away - a part of what defined her femininity - I need only look to the kind and encouraging words extended to me over comments, emails, and Facebook messages.  Weeping as I made my way through those words, I realized that I've been shown more about true beauty through the compassion and kindness you extended to me than I would have ever imagined.  I wrote in my last post that I get to search for and discover a deeper beauty that I wouldn't have had the chance to find had I never experienced this.  And oh, it moved me to see it coming true so quickly. And I knew it wasn't just about me.  Seeing the hearts of women and men, friends and strangers alike cheering me - and subsequently each other - on and sharing their own stories of losing their hair and the battles they were facing was beautiful.  And I hope that maybe somehow this is only the beginning.  Knowing we're not alone and cheering each other on through this life is a precious and beautiful thing.

So, if you are one who extended those incredibly genuine and kind words (including the beautiful Kelle Hampton), then from the bottom of my heart, thank you.  


Of course, closer to home than the wide reach of my family, dear friends and strangers online (whom I'll admit, I wondered how they might take the idea that I shaved my head) I wondered more about my kiddos.  Braeden, my 5 year old, came home from preschool when I revealed my bald head.  "Hey, Braeden, can I show you something?"   He turned, noticed immediately (how could you not, I suppose!), and studied my head for several seconds before asking if he could touch it.  Slowly reaching, he felt it, giggled a little, and then asked if he could watch a movie.  I smiled, feeling the unconditional love and over-site of such a thing as my hair from my boy.   And then there was my three year old, Landen, who asked, "Why did Shelly do that to you?"  Ha!

However, my 7 year old daughter, Emerson, is much more sensitive and aware - especially now that she's been exposed to the sting of sometimes being judged by her peers at school.  I knew she would know that this wasn't a normal thing for girls - for her mommy - to do.  Braeden announced on the way home from school that Mommy had cut her hair! She expressed her excitement of wanting to see and upon entering the door at home,  I turned, kneeled down and explained, "You know how I've been losing my hair?"  She nodded, glancing at my wig covered head. "Well, I decided that because I have already been losing so much, that maybe I should cut it all, instead of worrying so much about the number of hairs falling out each day."  I reached up and pulled off my wig.  Emerson, my sweet girl, whom I've always seen a compassionate heart in, took one look and immediately lowered her head and covered her eyes. "I don't like it, Mommy."  I searched her face as I began wondering if maybe I should have considered talking through it with her before I got rid of my remaining hair, or if maybe I should have just waited, when suddenly Braeden, taking a cue from his big sister, announced in a non-hurtful, matter of fact way, "Yeah, I don't like it.  It's not very pretty."  And as quickly as she looked away from me, Braeden's announcment snapped her head back up where she looked at me again and then back at Braeden.  I'll never forget how with pure confidence she announced, "Braeden, what makes you pretty is not the way you look or if you have hair, it's how kind and nice you are."

And there it was.  

That was the reason I let go of my hair.  

My hair, or lack of, has now given my children a chance to exercise what I've desired to plant in their heart from the time they were babies.   The seed of the same kindness and compassion and grace that many of you have already shown me has been planted in the hearts of my precious kiddos and is beginning a life of it's own in them.  My heart swelled with gratitude.

I won't lie, there have been a few moments where I caught myself by surprise in the mirror and I've instinctively grimaced, but I know deep down watching my hair fall to the floor was something I wouldn't regret.  In that moment, hearing those words from my girl, I knew that I had done something good.  

I'm still choosing true beauty.  And not just for me.  


Happy Monday and here's to the beauty in life!  





24 comments:

shellycoulter said...

Beautiful truths!

And I hope Landen can forgive me...he didn't seem to mind while I was doing it. Haha. That sweet boy! I love how much he loves you!

Erin McNamee said...

Tearing up here, Sandra. What a beautiful and brave thing you have done for yourself and for your children. What an incredible model of true beauty you are for them. You inspire me!

Anonymous said...

You will always be my beautiful Angelgirl, with or without hair! You are the most courageous woman I know, and I couldn't be more proud of you and your family. I love you more than you know, Mom xxoo

Ashley said...

what a heartfelt update! Kids can be the hardest to get something like this across to. Media makes us all look like Barbie or Bratz dolls. Their perfect flowing hair, perfect skin, perfect nails, perfect bodies. "Perfect" is a funny word when relating to physical attributes. And I used this word for a reason, "Perfection" --especially Americas apparent view, does not define us. But as your Darling Daughter put it, "it's how kind and nice you are." That's what beauty is! And what a wonderful reminder for us all!
...(Sorry for going off on media so much)

I think you are so gorgeous, hair or not! You shine!
I really like the new look, you can tell in your previous post you were happy with your decision and liberated!

Love Ashley

{From simplyeldridge.blogspot.com}

Shauna said...

I admire you for your courage!

archerwyomrs said...

I love your daughter! A young heart being shaped by the Father is beauty at its finest!

Sandy said...

My daughter's reaction was much the same as your little girls. She cried at first and that was the reason that I went on wearing my wig for so long. She was afraid that someone else would say "ugly" things to me. I just let her know that it doesn't upset me when people say those things about me because I feel beautiful just the way I am! :)

Evelyn Louise said...

Wow... I'm in tears.

I was one of the first to see my best friend after she shaved her head after losing most of her hair in chemo back in 2008.

I think it is beautiful... as I said in my last comment - it is a sign of strength, not of weakness.

And love that girl of yours and her response. Testament of you being a GREAT MOM!

Beth in the City said...

This is such a beautiful story. Thank you so much for sharing yourself with all of us. I think I just found another favorite blog to add to my list of inspiration!

beth said...

i came here from kelle's blog and i just want you to know that i think you are not only beautiful inside and out, but that you are also amazingly brave.

thank your for opening the eyes of so many people who will read this and see the brave and incredible woman and MOTHER that you are.

thank you for sharing you !!

Emma R said...

Another commenter from Kelles page. I have tears reading this, I've watched my brother in law lose his hair as a result of alopecia, and as a result have considered taking part in the 'World's Greatest Shave' (an australian fund raising event)for the last few years. But my eldest daughter (6) becomes so distraught at the mention of it that I've never gone through with it. What a beautiful response from your daughter, you're raising a good girl there. Best wishes x

Becky said...

I love the pure honesty of kids. Thank you for being brave enough to share your story! The beauty that matters truly is on the inside and not the out.

Anonymous said...

Beautiful posts, both this one and the original head shaving ... kudos to you for being a wonderful mom, a strong woman, and for doing what is right for you! You have inspired me, and, I'm sure, hundreds of others... I think maybe this summer I'll wear my bathing suit and play in the pool with my kids, rather than "wait till I lose more weight" ... who cares if someone sees me and thinks I don't look like I should?!

Katrina said...

Oh, this post made me tear up. Such sweet (and honest!) reactions from your little ones. Thank you for sharing this.

SuperMilf said...

You should be the proudest momma on the planet. What an amazing example you have set for your little ones. So impressive.
I am in awe of your courage to shave your head!

Shalini said...

I came from reading Kelle's post. You are so brave, and I admire you so much for it. Keep on smiling.

Kerry said...

Beautiful. Your story, your confidence, your bravery to put it out in the world. Congrats on a bold new you!

Heather said...

I couldn't leave your blog without catching up on the post following your "I Shaved My Head" post and oh my am I glad I continued to read on ... the values and lessons you are teaching your children ... again truly amazing. Your daughter's words brought tears to my eyes and made me ask myself ... have I taught this to my children? I can honestly say that I don't know if I have, but you have given me the inspiration to find a way to determine if I can say "YES" to that question. Keep doing what your doing Sandra ... you are not only an inspiration to your children but to the friends you didn't know you had in this world.

stephany said...

What a wonderful example you have set for your children...and the many other people you have touched by being honest.
Including me.
Thank you.

Susan said...

You're so beautiful without your hair. Your smile and the light in your eyes are truly gorgeous.

missy said...

Thankyou for the courage to share, so beautifully and honestly! Your light will shine and impact so many.

Jane MacDonald said...

You are truly inspiring and so very beautiful!

erin said...

sending love and hugs your way. Thank you for inspiring me with courage and the reminder that sometimes the best thing to do is to just let go. Such an important thing you are sharing with all of us! Thank you Thank you Thank you

teresa said...

coming from kelle's post. thanks for sharing your new found freedom. vacuuming a pillowcase each morning and trying not to clog the shower drain are traded for appreciation of precious things deep within our hearts.

from the dialogue it is clear that you are teaching your children well. sharing, caring and talking thru the bumps and, yes, joys in the journey. God bless your lives and hearts.

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