Sunday, August 03, 2008

How To Endure Anything

My daughter turned three in June, which is usually amazing to people, because she looks much older. She's super-tall for her age, and she's also very articulate for a preschooler. And added upon that, her personality aged about ten more years after a recent trip to "Nana's."

Just to give you some history on the hair journey that led us to Nana's:

When Emma was a few months old we started out doing the "cocoa puffs":

And then earlier this year she graduated to "fro and headband":

Emma always looked adorable, but she was soon ready for something different in her coif. When she wore jeans and a t-shirt, people often mistook her for a very charming little boy. Store clerks were always saying, "Hey, Buddy!" Someone even mistook her for our six-year-old nephew on one occasion.

So my husband took her to see "Nana," a local hair braider/weaver in our town. The idea of sitting in the chair and letting a stranger touch her hair sent our daughter into a screaming rage. Fro and headband remained the style, and we just tried to keep her wearing skirts and pink clothes.

A few weeks ago we decided to try again. I took her into Nana's salon to see about making an appointment. Emma entered cautiously with me, remembering her previous trauma. But this time she let Nana comb out her hair as a test, so we went ahead and made an appointment for the following day.

I prepared Emma all the next day, telling her that she was going to have her hair braided, and that her hair was going to be really pretty. She appeared to be a little nervous, but when the time came she readily complied, got into the chair, and sat like a little angel for THREE HOURS while Nana sectioned off her hair into little pieces, then wove in some longer locks and braided them. It was a painstaking process, but Em did not utter one complaint, no matter how hard Nana had to tug on her hair. She did not squirm. She did not ask for a drink or a snack. She actually napped through part of the process. Nana (who has been braiding since she was a young girl herself) marveled that she had never been able to work on a three-year-old this easily before.

When Nana was finished braiding, she took sections of braids and wrapped them around a curler, then dipped them in boiling water to make little ringlet curls. I was the nervous one this time, but luckily Emma remained still and patient.

Finally the moment came to show her the end result. Beautiful, long braids with curls at the end. (For those who read Ramona the Pest as a kid will appreciate the term, "boing-boing" curls.) Emma stared into the mirror and smiled.

Knowing that Emma has been historically incapable of sitting still for five minutes, much less three hours, I found myself learning a lesson as I watched this miraculous event.

How did Emma endure three hours of sitting still and letting her hair get tugged, piece by piece, with no entertainment? Three hours is like three eternities in Three-Year-Old Land, so why wasn't there a single peep of complaint?

The answer is simple: she knew the purpose of the experience, and she was willing to endure whatever it took to achieve that end.

I know -- vanity isn't the most worthy of pursuits. But this was a (literally) cute way of illustrating the value of staying focused on the prize.

Romans 5:1-5: "Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ. By whom also we have access by faith into this grace wherein we stand, and rejoice in hope in the glory of God. And not only so, but we glory in tribulations also; knowing that tribulation worketh patience; And patience, experience; and experience, hope; And hope maketh not ashamed; because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given unto us."

James 5:11:"Behold, we count them happy which endure; Ye have heard of the patience of Job, and have seen the end of the Lord; that the Lord is very pitiful, and of tender mercy."

Doctrine & Covenants 121:7-8: "My son, peace be unto thy soul; thine adversity and thine afflictions shall be but a small moment; And then, if thou endure it well, God shall exalt thee on high; thou shalt triumph over thy foes."


Rachel said...

She is the cutest thing EVER!!! I love her hair. it is gorgeous. I never knew about the curls in boiling water thing - interesting. What a sweetie!


Faith said...

She's so darling!! I love her braids. How long do they stay in before she has to have them re-done?

Krista said...

So very cute to see her at different stages and her "do" now is adorable! What a beauty. And you even managed to turn the post to fit your blog purpose! (applauds)

Kendra said...

Good job Emma. What a looker! She looks totally different (don't get me wrong, I LOVED the fro and headband look), but she looks so old and mature. I love that little cutie.

t'WIN said...

I have Adopted Black American sons and am soo glad we get to keep the hair short! My Niece is Black too and she needs to see this hair! I think I will even pay for it! So pretty.
I am so hyped for you to be alive and have this lovely family. I look for updates often and was delighted to see photos! Went to temple other day with my son and he leaves in 5 days for mission. Life is good. Rasing last two age 6 and 7. So no empty nesting yet. :)

Brain tumor survivor 1997. Lost twin to Glioma Aug 07.

Familia Peña said...

You never cease to amaze me. Congratulations on turning 41 and continuing to live and to be a beacon of hope for others, especially my Mom. I know that you were pivotal in her strength. Emma is darling, I have always loved braids like that.


Debbie said...

Hi Krista,
My name is Debbie Rettew, Your mom helped us out a bit with our adoption in Texas when we lost our adopted son about 6 yrs ago..Not sure if you remember me??
Anyway, My cousin is fighting a cancer battle herself...I haven't seen her in yrs and I just got to meet up with her in Phoenix where we live.
SHe is from California but has been semi living in Houston for cancer treatments. SHe has stage 4 cancer in her spine now but she is fighting..
I was just hoping you could maybe be of some support to her..I cannot imagine what you both have been thru and I truly beleive sometimes we go thru trials to get other people thru those same trials..
Would you please email me if this is something you would be willing to do? Even just send her an email once in a while..
You are an amazing person and I know even just your words would help her get thru this..
Thank you!