My two and a half year old granddaughter had a busy weekend packed full of fun. She visited an amusement park for the first time. She was in route to our house to tell us all about it. As she walked down the side deck of our home, I saw her smile first and her purse second. A small toy animal head was poking out of her hard shell handbag.
“What do you have in there?” I asked. She proudly removed a blue pony with long locks of hair just a shade lighter than the plastic body.
“Did Mumma get you that prize?” I asked.
“Um hum!” She responded as she sat down on the deck to stroke the pony’s blue hair.
“Mom, we all played games at the park and combined the tickets to get her that pony! It took two hundred of them to get our hands on that thing! I could’ve bought that at the dollar store!” My daughter said as we all laughed but my laughter was quickly going to turn to silence. I would soon find myself whipped into a place of remembrance, sympathy and pain all because of a little blue pony with long curly hair.
We spend many hours on our back deck. Some of the best talks, some of the deepest discussions and many decisions have been made on the deck. It’s a getaway. From that spot, I can hear the sound of the fountain in our pool. I close my eyes and envision a vacation destination. Important discoveries are made out there on the deck.
“Mimi, Hewp!” She yells because she can’t say help.
“What’s wrong Jade?”
“Mimi, put it back peas!” She is beginning to panic. I freeze. I honestly cannot move as I watch her. I need a rescue from God. I’m beginning to shake. I feel anxiety run through my core. Jade is combing the curly blue locks of the pony’s mane with her fingers and the hair is falling out onto the deck. She’s picking it up and setting it back on top of the pony’s head. I’m spinning. My mind is rolling like an 8mm film. I can see all of my friends who have undergone chemo. I can see their hair falling out and the agony of wanting to “put it back”. I take the pony from Jade. Her face is distraught. I can’t tell her that Mimi can fix it. I’d be lying. Its pulled out from the roots.
“Jade, hair falls out sometimes.”
“I know. It’s sad but your pony is still so pretty!”
As the evening came to a close, we picked up Jade’s toys and brought the dirty dishes inside. I put a few caps on markers that she’d taken out and I made one last glance. I noticed a large clump of blue hair rolling across the deck like a tumbleweed. I grabbed it and weighted it down with a flower pot. I wanted to keep the memory close for a little while.
Jade came back this evening. She didn’t have her purse and she didn’t bring her blue pony. She had Minnie mouse and The Foot Book. It was nearing bath time when she spotted the hair under the pot. She did not ask, she reached up and took the hair. She ran to her wagon which serves as her outdoor toy box. She grabbed her bag of shells and dumped them out. Jade then placed the blue hair in the bag. That bag went with her to the tub where she removed the curly locks and washed them with shampoo. The blue strands are still on the edge of the bath tub and they will remain until they either wash away or she doesn’t want them.