Pandemic Haircut

My first thought on removing the plastic bag and rinsing out the extra dye was “troll doll.” Not the giant eyes and round belly. But the hair. Definitely the hair – bright mermaid blue. After some challenging weeks (David’s bike accident, friends suspecting Covid – which, fortunately, turned out to be a false alarm), here was something to celebrate.

Friday afternoon, Birch cut my hair on our deck – the first clippers to touch my head since February. Yesterday, I let her dye it. Because … Why not? My children have been dying their hair for years. I’ve long wondered what it would be like to color mine.

But I don’t do that sort of thing, so I set the idea aside. Until this weekend.

These days, everything feels uncertain, ad-hoc. What difference does it make what color my hair is? And what difference does it make if that dye job is the perfectly imperfect work of my sixteen-year-old? It’s joyful. It’s fun. It’s hair, for heaven’s sake.

Last night, we celebrated David’s 53rd birthday. Birch made a chocolate peanut butter icebox cake (highly recommend; here’s the recipe). Miriam and Sammy visited from Ann Arbor, where they are each living in coops with 15 young adults. It was our first family gathering since they left home again in July.

They arrived wearing masks.

We sat on the deck, six feet apart.

They didn’t stay overnight.

I loved being with them. All week I felt excited and sad – anxious to see them, sad that we couldn’t hug, relieved that during this isolating time they are living in community.

Birch had 12 days of community at Camp Lookout too, the best part of her summer hands down. This was her fourth season at the tiny camp in Northern Michigan, the capstone session before being old enough to work there next year.

When Governor Whitmer moved our state into Phase 4, the directors figured out a way to offer tiny camp experiences for kids from the same region of the state. Camp was back, albeit with masks and distance and pre-arrival Covid tests.

And now they’re even offering a semester school option, which my kid is anxious to join – seven weeks of online school with your home district, while engaged in a camp-like community up north.

So, things are looking up in unexpected ways.

And I have turquoise hair, which I love.

My children are finding their way during this odd time. Birch is settling into communities that embrace and celebrate her trans identity – folks who don’t question her name, her pronouns or her politics.

Sammy’s friends are returning to Ann Arbor after scattering when school shut down in March. They are walking and talking together-but-apart, sitting on the porch, sharing meals as best they can.

Miriam is working at a farm a couple days each week, figuring out what the fall of senior year looks like, navigating uncertainty like a pro.

No, it’s not what I expected. But it’s what we’ve got, and I’ll take it.


3 thoughts on “Pandemic Haircut

  1. Your hair looks awesome and Birch did a superb job. How much is she charging for services? Glad to hear everyone is doing as well as possible under the circumstances. I think everyone is finding they are far more resilient than assumed.


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