Tuesday, July 23, 2013

baldness as a megaphone...

Last month, after our last beach trip, we happened upon a wig shop in Norfolk, VA.

Initially we went in just to look and let Caroline bask in all the different types of wigs.  The synthetic wig we had gotten her just a few months ago was already turning "ratty," like a Barbie doll that has been brushed too many times.  This shop didn't have any children's wigs, but for only around $100, we found this brunette little number with real human hair.   Pretty cute, eh?

What she was most excited about was putting CURLS in it.  (not possible with the synthetic wig, where the style is more "set")  So a quick trip to Wal-Mart got us a set of foam rollers to try.

Can I just stop and say this is something I never imagined myself doing?!?  Putting foam rollers on a WIG for my bald daughter?!?  Sometimes, even after three years of baldness, I am still shocked this is my life.  Nevertheless, she was beyond ecstatic at the option.

So we let the hair dry overnight on the wig stand.  (wouldn't it be cool if we could all do this with our hair?  Especially in the hot summer....)

And the next morning, here was my little beauty.

She was so excited about her new look.

She says the wig is a little itchy, but not as much as the other wig.  The only problem is that it is a little bunchy at the back of her head because of the bigger adult size, but the curls help hide that.  We might just be a little limited on hair styles, but hey- she's just happy to have hair as an option in the first place!

My heart is SO happy that she's only choosing the wig option every now and then for fun.  If we're dressing up to go out as a family, sometimes she'll ask to wear it.  But usually she just likes to wear it to church- I think it's more like a dress-up accessory for her, which is exactly what I had prayed for.  (thank you, God!)

Alopecia seems to be a topic we're discussing more and more everyday.  "Mom," she asked yesterday in the car, "In heaven, are we going to have new bodies?"

"Yes, they will be our bodies, but glorified and better."

"I think when I get there, I'm going to ask God for really, really long blonde hair."

"I have a feeling He will be delighted to give you all the hair you want," I told her.

"He likes to give me what I want?" she seemed surprised.

"Yes, of course He does.  Just like Mommy and Daddy love to give you things your heart wants.  But just like Mommy and Daddy choose what is best for you, God knows what is best to give us, and that's not always what we want.  There are some things that God decides not to give us, or to take away from us, and we don't know why He does.  I don't know why He decided you should have alopecia, and I don't know why He decided that I should have my birthmark on my leg.  But He knows what is best for us."

"When my hair started falling out, did you just want to throw me in the trash?" she innocently asked.

*Cue tears here.  She has NO idea.  How can I even BEGIN to tell her what a long, draining emotional and spiritual journey I took as her hair was slowly shedding over the course of ten months?

"No, baby.  I never wanted to throw you in the trash.  I was very scared that my baby was sick because I had never heard about alopecia, and I was sad that I couldn't keep your hair from falling out.  We took you to several doctors to find out what was happening, and finally, we went to one of the best doctors at Duke..."

"DUKE?!" she interrupted.  I could tell she thought that was a funny name.


"What's DUKE?"

"It's a place in North Carolina with alot of really good doctors," I explained.  "And it was the doctor at Duke that told us that you had alopecia totalis."

"When he told you that, what did you think?" she quickly followed up.

Wow.  This girl has always been so perceptive.  What exactly WAS I feeling when I finally received her diagnosis?

"I was SO very happy that you were not sick," I stated simply, and on the conversation went from there.

Alopecia took Caroline's hair away, but it gave us WAY more to talk about.

I want my daughter to enjoy this new "hair" without letting its absence (or presence) define her.  We talk about focusing on what God has given to her, and not what He has chosen to take away.

As much as I sometimes hate alopecia, I am able now to see blessings in it as well.  I know God has purposes for Caroline, and I'm confident her experience without hair will fit into His plans for her.

Kids will tease.  Adults will stare.  But people will always be intrigued.  And they can't help but listen to what she, as a bald girl, has to say.  What a ministry she could have to others someday through this experience.

Oh God, that You would use my daughter's baldness as a megaphone for Your glory.

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