Hair and nails

I often talk to Jesus about Rhema’s hair.

It’s gorgeous. It’s unique. It’s thick and lustrous. It defies gravity. It’s curls on crack.

Her massive mane regularly sports lint, twigs, snot and spaghetti sauce. When I braid it, it turns into knots. The only thing to be done really is to tie it all back in a ponytail.

Washing it is… complicated. She loathes the whole experience. She’s afraid of getting water in her eyes or ears, and fights me the entire time. Rinsing out the shampoo is like trying to give the decimal equivalent of pi. Imagine a frightened, slippery Incredible Hulk and Don King combined into one. Then throw some autism on top.

After the bloodbath, there’s the task of brushing out the tangles. Which is also a lot of fun.

Needless to say we’ve got a very elaborate system in place, involving popsicles, cheese, a reverse downward dog pose, wrestling and a hose. And it all works about 1% of the time.

I’ve drifted to sleep wondering, If I die, who will wash Rhema’s hair???

A huge tangle in the back of her head had turned into a dreadlock that began at her scalp. I worried over it for days because I didn’t want to cut her glorious hair. Yesterday I finally did it. I sat her in front of a pile of shredded cheese and called my friend Carrie for moral support while I snipped away. I cut a lot. But it was like the miracle of Jesus feeding the five thousand. I kept cutting but there seemed to be no end to her hair! To look at her now, you’d never know her mama got scissor happy.

Before bed Hope begged me to paint her toenails “Barbie Pink”. We pretended that I was giving her a real pedicure. And Barbie Pink is sooo not my color, but we did my toes, too. We noticed how interested Rhema appeared in what we were doing. She would come over and peer curiously at us and then go back to her spot. I can well remember when she was so isolated – she did not seem to notice or acknowledge anyone in the room; she did not show interest in much of anything around her.

We were eager to include Rhema in our girly fun. Hope ran and grabbed a toy for her to hold and I sat her down on a small bench in the bathroom. Rhema has never had her nails painted, but she willingly presented her toes with a giggle. Wow! My heart did an inverse downward dog and a backflip. She let me trim her nails and paint them; Hope cheered at every pink toe.

I love that Rhema is so present; so ready to be a part of us and what we are doing. It’s a simple thing, painting toenails, but it’s something I never really expected to do/share with her. For a moment I saw pure delight in her face as she glanced down at her feet.

God is good always. And this life is a wild, convoluted, beautiful miracle.

Yep, just like her hair.

16 thoughts on “Hair and nails

  1. Wow! Simply amazing that Rhema loved such a simple girlie moment shared with you all. Just awesome!

    You completely made me laugh out loud to the point others were concerned with your: “if I die, who will wash Rhema’s hair”!!! Hugs & HURRAY!!!

  2. love it, mama! you remember when we painted hope’s toenails last year and then rhema tried to do her own??? she was just gearing up for this!!

    • no, i don’t remember! i probably just thought she was intending to make a mess! of course we missed and talked about you when we did our pedis last night. =)

  3. Woooo hooooo! I love the picture of your feet! It tells such a big, big story! I am praying, right now, that “hair time” is the next BIG thing to be conquered! gail

  4. Ian has asked for painted toenails the last few times the girls had theirs painted. Dude, you asked for something. I don’t care if it’s girly. You ASKED. You noticed and asked. We went with black. He was thrilled. 🙂

  5. I SO love that she wanted her nails done! That is so awesome 🙂 I have often wondered how you manage to wash and brush Rhema’s hair. Having curly frizz myself, I know how much work it takes to manage a crazy mane :).

  6. Hi Jeneil,
    I worked with Rhema a few years ago and was thinking about her the other day. I came across this site and I have to tell you how touched i am by your passages on Rhema. Just with the few years I worked with her, I could tell she had someone special at home to help her every step of the way! Give her a hug for me!


  7. Yay!!!!!! That’s so WONDERFULLY HUGE! I’m smiling ear to ear with happy tears in my eyes for your mommy/daughters nail time!! :))))

  8. I Love it!!!! God is awesome!!! She totally had girl time with both mommy and sister and seemed to enjoy it! That’s great!
    I also love, “like trying to give a decimal equivalent to pi” LOL!!! So well put 🙂

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