Lately I have found myself living in the fast lane again. Rushing, multi-tasking, running around and muddling through. Things are done with haste. I go, go, go then crash at the end of the day. While I remind myself constantly to slow down, breathe, take a break, relax and enjoy, some days I find it difficult to quiet my mind and focus my concentration. On those days, I wash JR's hair.
Jannah-Rae was blessed to be born with a head full of hair. All throughout her infancy people remarked at her long, dark hair. And while many speculated that it will eventually fall out, it kept on growing. Three plus years later JR still goes around with her "original" head of hair.
When wet JR's hair flows to her buttocks. When curled up, it can hang anywhere from over her shoulders to half-way down her back. We try to "tame" it and hold it back, but more often than not the elements get the best of it. It frizzes up and runs astray. It snarls and becomes a nightmare, and renders bath-time a much dreaded activity. And yet I look forward to the "hair wash" days.
When I was on bed rest, bathing JR was one of the things I missed most. So these days I take advantage of the time I get to spend with JR in the bathtub.
Washing her hair is a cleansing act; physically for her and spiritually for me. It causes me to focus on nothing else but the matter I have in front of me. I cannot be multi-tasking, or let my mind wander. In order to do JR's hair justice I need to be "here" and "now" every time I do it. And every time I do it, I realize how much I need to do it.
While JR's hair is a gift to her, it is also a gift for me. It is the gift of time, mindfulness, meditation. It teaches me to work with the subject and not against it. It allows me to become one with JR, putting myself in her place and recalling the times I had to have my hair washed and how I hated the pain that was associated with the activity. It requires me to be gentle and kind. It reminds me of how much JR needs me right now and how I am able to be there for her. In the little things like joining her in the tub and combing her hair one strand at a time there is great reward and many moments of love and connection.
"Do I have to wash my hair today?" has become JR's daily recital. For her the question bears feelings of avoiding pain. For me the question bears the opportunity for invoking love.
And while other parts of my life are filled with chatter and clutter, my kitchen drawer remains empty!