Thursday, September 14, 2017

The Promise

As many women in their 40's, I've been through my share of style transformations, especially as trends changed over the years. One of my favorite ways to change my look has always been by way of hair. I have had long, blond, dark, shaved sides, curly, straight, with bangs, no bangs, bobs, asymmetrical, and even the infamous Rachel Haircut of the mid 90's. I think it's fun to take a risk and completely go for a different style each time.

The last time I chopped my locks was in January, 2015. The cut was as low as it could have been without involving a set of clippers... it was short! It was also easy to manage; wash and go, that's it. During this time, my husband was going through an especially tough time. He was sent to the box over two hours away. It was another test. We had to re-assess our situation and figure out how to make our relationship work as a new challenge faced us. He was then transferred to a new facility in the Spring. That one would be 4 hours away. The test was nowhere near over; it was just beginning.

On visitation days I had to get up at around 4 in the morning so that I could be on the road at around 5. When I visited alone, that was no problem. With two small children in tow, it was a different story. One day, as I sat there, waiting for him to come to the visiting floor, he was taking a long time and I was feeling pretty frustrated. I wrote my thoughts on a small piece of paper (as I had many times before). I often find inspiration while I wait for him. The people that surround me, visiting loved ones, all have a story to tell. I wonder about their journeys while reflecting on mine. Over the years I have written enough to fill a book. Most of the times that piece of paper ends up at the bottom of a purse or gets washed with the laundry; hardly ever making it out whole. This note, however has survived and it reads: "Frustration and negativity spews out of me. It is not my intention to be unpleasant company. They do their job in pushing us away. But still, we come. Overcoming long rides and road blocks, we make our way thru bad weather, illness and stress. We show up, we wait, then we wait some more. The smile that I put on at 5 a.m. has faded by now. I'm Sorry! And then, when I feel your hand on mine- it's all worth it." 

When my husband finally joined me, he read my little note. He looked at it and said, "I know!" Then he looked at me and commented on my hair; it was growing. At that moment I realized that the length of my hair represented this new chapter (let's call it Far Away). So I thought for a moment and said, "you know what? I'm gonna let it grow... I'll cut it when you come home." He chuckled and told me I didn't have to do that, he knows how much I love to experiment with my hair. Then I said that I meant it and I set out to do so. As months and now years have passed since that day, my conviction about the 'sacrifice' I'm making stays with me. It may not seem like much, but those who know me understand how hard it is for me to do nothing about my ever-growing hair. About two weeks ago I gave myself bangs. I felt a little guilty; does that count as a hair cut? I'm gonna go with no, I hope I'm right.

The thought of not cutting my hair until my husband is free has crossed my mind many times over the years. But then I get the 'itch' and "poof, it's gone!" Had I made and kept this promise since 1994, I might hold a record for longest hair today, who knows? This promise is one I intend on keeping. Why? What difference is it going to make? Well, none, really. For me, it's a daily, physical reminder of the time that has passed and I want to work harder to bring him home. It's way too easy to get busy and forget. I know that there is a light at the end of our tunnel.

Today he is 5 and a half hours away. I see him less often but the love I have for him is stronger than ever. The day is coming when my husband and I will walk, hand in hand, away from the place that robbed him of so many years... And right into the nearest hair salon for a long awaited haircut! :)

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