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!