I was wrong. I was really, really wrong.
My Hobbit never had a single doubt about shaving her head. She never flinched, never wavered, and has still not stopped smiling!
Her anxiety didn’t sideline her. She didn’t worry about what people would say or how she would look. As a matter of fact, she is in love with her fuzzy scalp!
I am kind of in love with it too. She is remarkably beautiful. Her eyes dance. Her smile lights up her face. She rubs her head because it is so soft and prickly all at the same time.
She says she wouldn’t mind keeping her hair like this. I tell her it looks pretty badass. Of course, I whisper the word “badass” because she and I both know that word is not appropriate. But we also know that it is absolutely true. And that being a badass is something to be proud of.
She is no longer afraid.
I struggle to reconcile the young woman before me with the lost and frightened little girl who needed the help of her younger sister to make it onto the bus every day last year. It is excruciating to remember the nights that Hubby and I sat awake, knowing that the hallucinations would overtake her before we could asleep.
Her shoulders are no longer stooped. Her eyes shine with confidence rather than fear.
She is not afraid to make big decisions. She is not afraid to take chances. She is not afraid.
Shaving her hair was not just an act of solidarity for kids with cancer. Shaving her hair allowed her to be free. When her hair fell to the floor, so did her worries, her inhibitions, her fears, and her past.
She grew that day. She left baggage behind, and she began to stand taller than ever. She became even stronger and more beautiful than she has ever been.
People gave us words of praise and affirmation for our parenting after she shaved her head. I didn’t feel deserving. This Hobbit teaches me how to parent a child who is more insightful than I am. She teaches me how to live with someone who feels deeply and has endless empathy and compassion.
Sometimes, I don’t feel like I even parent her. I simply do my best to empower her. I cheer her on. I watch her learning to walk and then beginning to fly. I am privileged to be a witness to her journey.
She will never walk the easy path, but she is going to have one hell of a beautiful life!