Hair represents strength and beauty. In some cultures hair is believed to be your connection to Mother Earth. Her hair means tangles and knots, getting caught in her food, her backpack, her jacket. Her hair trails behind her when she runs and leaps, falls and tumbles when she collapses from a backbend or laughter, splays around her sleeping face. Her hair represents childhood.

She wore her long locks with pride, her dedication and discipline showing in every inch. I only saw tangles and hassle. I began a campaign to encourage her to cut her hair by making it an act of good. Her precious locks would be donated to a child suffering from hair loss. But the thought of losing 12 inches was too much so I waited. With her 12th birthday approaching I decided to renew my campaign, using the significance of this date as a motivator to leave elementary school behind with a fresh new look for middle school. To my surprise she agreed. And to my surprise I was overcome with emotions as I saw those precious locks falling to the floor. Each lock held a carefree, childhood memory. And as I watched what I thought would be a joyous, celebratory moment I felt sad for what we were losing and what I will continue to lose.