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Aug 6, 2012


When I was younger I loved to dye my hair, but my hair never really took to the color. I tried to go blonde, but it turned out just slightly lighter brown. I went red and kept it that way for a long time, but it was really just reddish-brown. Even when I dyed it purple, you could only tell if you looked really closely that it wasn't just an unfortunate color of brown. Brown is where my hair stays, and that is just that.

Except recently, my hair has been switching gears and going gray. I noticed the first gray hair almost four years ago on Colin's first birthday, just before his party. Predictably, I cried out in agony and ripped it from my head. The grays keep coming, and now there are more than just one. Still only a few, and difficult to see (it still just all looks pretty brown), but they're there.

This is in no way surprising: both my parents and all my grandparents are gray. My younger sister has grays all over, has for a long time. I truly expected them much earlier. But now they're here, so what's to be done?

It is not feasible to rip them all out. Aside from ouch, there is the inevitable thinning that would result. As someone with fine hair to begin with, this is not a good strategy. I stopped dying my hair about six years ago because I recognized the futility in trying to deviate from brown. Brown Brown Brown. But now gray.

Those grays are part of me, I suppose, and it's a waste of time to try to convince myself otherwise. Just like my nose that's turned up but is my father's and my ears that stick out a bit too much but are my mothers and her father's before that, they connect me to my family. It may not make me more beautiful, but it is from them and that's enough. The grays are from delivering my babies and now mothering them. They are from my patients keeping me up at night, worrying over their problems and lives and futures. They represent the painful, frazzled, wonderful life of a mother, a doctor, a person in the world.

I think the Olympics have given me some grays, too, both because of the suspense of some of these competitions and also because I have been choosing to forgo sleep to watch. Hopefully I'll get some more grays in the near future that represent the maturity I develop when I get myself to bed on time. We'll see.

I think that I will leave them for now. Live and let... grow gray.

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