I was looking at an old picture of myself the other day. It was taken back when my kids were little. In addition to my youth, I noticed that the part in my hair was much further to the side than it is now. Both my husband and I had more hair, and I could brush my hair over and still have enough left on the side with the part. That was back when things were much more black and white. My children were small and it was easy to decide what was right, and we knew for sure what was wrong. We were young. I knew what my place was in my children’s lives. I was the guider, the teacher, the one with the answers . And the answers I had were accepted as truth.
I’ve observed over the years that most women who part their hair on the side, separate their locks on the left. Many hairdressers have tried that on me, but it has never worked. Try as they might, my hair just won’t take a left-sided split. So, in the picture, my part is quite far to the right. Gradually, as my children have grown and I have aged, my hair has gotten thinner. Because of a cowlick, I no longer try to fight the natural split in my hair. I’ve learned that sometimes life is easier if you don’t fight the ways things are. So my part is not quite as far over as it used to be.
In more recent pictures of our family, we are all the adults. My youngest child is 6’3” and towers four inches over my head. He and his wife are now the guiders, the teachers, and the ones with the answers to their one year old son. To all of my children, I’m more of a sounding board. They don’t want as many answers as they used to, and ones I have, they often question, which, in a way, is good, because many things are no longer as distinctly obvious in regard to their being right or wrong. There are a lot more gray areas in life to me now. My key beliefs are still intact. I haven’t changed my mind about the importance of family, and I’m still happily married to the same guy in the aforementioned photograph. And, if anything, my faith is much stronger than it was years ago. But the smaller issues are not as clear cut as they once were. I hope I’ve gained more compassion, more insight, and more understanding than the young woman pictured twenty four years ago.
That person is still inside me, but I play a different role in my children’s lives now. My hair still divides on the right hand side, but it’s not quite as far over as it used to be. I’ll always be my kids’ mother, but since they were little, I’ve changed my part.