A little over a year ago I wrote about our decision to put Dimples’ hair in locs, and it seems we’re due for an update. Locs have literally been a gift to us. Hours of tears and tantrums disappeared on the day that we loc’ed her hair, and were replaced with once a month touch ups. Now, I want to be clear, I did not resent the hours spent taking care of either of my black daughters’ hair. I knew when I adopted African daughters, hair care would become a regular part of my life. Having been a low-maintenance hair mom from the beginning, I also knew it would be a big change.
What I didn’t know then was that my girls were coming home with years of trauma and neglect in their hearts and minds, and long afternoons of braiding were nearly impossible for Dimples. My Dimples, who struggles to sit still for more than a few minutes even now, felt tortured as I, with inexperienced fingers, attempted to braid and bead her hair. With a lot of help from Sweet Pea, we had some success, but not without a great price being paid by the entire household.
As the drama in our home increased over the months and years, simple things like beautiful hair, fell far down the ladder of my life. Yet, I didn’t want to appear to be a neglectful white mother, so I stumbled on.
As I wrote last year, I knew three women with locs and admired their beauty from a distance. Finally, on Christmas Eve at our church service, I reached my hand out to one of them and said, “Can I get together with you and talk about your locs? I need help.” I met with the ladies and we talked hair, race, skin and living as a black woman in north Idaho. I loved being able to talk so freely and ask so many questions. They talked about their own hair history and we chatted about chemical relaxers, braids, and all kinds of hair styles. They spoke of the freedom they experienced when they embraced their natural hair, gave up stacks of hair products, and loc’ed their curls. Their locs had been growing for years, so they did them up in all kinds of interesting styles – always looking fabulous.
Dimples and I were ready to take the plunge, knowing it was a long-term commitment. Once the locs were in, they would not be coming out for years. I had done some reading and knew the first year would be the toughest. Her locs were short and stuck up on her head, so we bought lots of wide headbands and tried to keep them under control. She slept with a wide piece of cloth holding her locs down in order to tame them even more. As they grew longer, I tried little clips, but they often didn’t stay in.
Dimples went through a time of saying she wanted the locs out and her curls back. We talked about what it had been like when those curls had to be combed and braided, and she agreed that was hard for her. Some of the girls in her class at school told her they didn’t like her locs and she should wear her hair curly again. I tried to be sensitive and honest. I told her, “Those white girls have no idea what they are talking about . They do not know how many hours it would take for you to have your hair curly again, because they are white and their hair is different from yours. Let’s talk to Miss Grace and Miss Alexis.” I also reminded her that the day was coming when her locs would be long enough to do fun things with them. We bought some sponge rollers and talked about curling her locs some Saturday night.
I am happy to say that 15 months later, her locs are long enough that today she left for school with two short pig tails and a braid gathering up the short locs on top of her head. One year from now, her locs are going to be longer and she’ll be able to do all kinds of great styles. In the meantime, this summer she will swim with no concern about snarls or her straightened hair getting curly the moment she hits the water. She plans to be an athlete one day, and I’m glad that her locs will give her the opportunity to play hard, hit the shower, and not have a bit of worry about her hair.
Her hair is glorious, and getting better every day.
This post may contain Amazon Affiliate links. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.