Yesterday was World Kindness Day … which for me paled Friday the 13th into insignificance!
I’m an emotional soul, and nothing warms my heart more (or moves me to tears) than a genuine display of ‘kindness’ or thoughfulness in whatever form. There is a reason why I end every episode of DIY SOS, animal hospital, or very topically Children in Need, looking a lot like Alice Cooper!
Imagine my pride yesterday when that selfless act of kindness was performed by my 7 year old daughter.
Having a brother with profound special needs, and spending a lot of time in medical establishments and mixing with children with special needs, I’m pleased to report that both Scarlett and Jem are well versed and well adjusted when it comes to disability. I’ve taught them to be mindful of others needs and or weaknesses and not to be afraid to ask questions.
Having spent the best part of 6 weeks in hospital with Archie recently, on one visit Scarlett became curious about two little girls she saw on the ward who had no hair. I explained to her that often through illness, treatment and or the stress of the same, people lose their hair, as her late Granny Sue had with cancer. I think it was possibly all the more concerning to Scarlett because these two girls were very close to her age – albeit slightly older. After the ‘whys’ and ‘wherefores’ I could almost hear her mind whirring – when Scarlett piped up that she wished she could have all her hair cut off to give to these girls to make them pretty again. I hugged my thoughtful little girl close as tears fought to escape!
After some discussion, some research and no persuasion whatsoever, I enrolled Scarlett with the Little Princess Trust a charity which provides real hair wigs for children suffering from hair loss. Scarlett was bursting with pride and excitement, and when I explained that we could also raise money for the charity through sponsorship of this ‘hair cutting’ event – she was thrilled… I can tell you now there is nothing more exciting for a 7 year old girl than knowing that by having a hair cut, friends, family and complete strangers will kindly donate money to an online account and watching that money mounting up and the pleasure in her eyes has been quite momentous!
Fortunately for us, I befriended Wendy, an accomplished stylist at Tranquility Day Spa in Horsforth, and she very kindly offered to cut Scarlett’s hair professionally for us (as per the guidelines expressed by Little Princess Trust).
Scarlett’s hair took a long time to establish itself and even at 3 years old, it was just starting to thicken and grow.
Through no real conscious effort, despite regular trims (normally performed by Granny Sue or myself over the years – following Granny Sue’s training) Scarlett chose to keep her hair long.
There was a period of time, a couple of years ago, when Scarlett suffered from Trichotillomania, a compulsive hair pulling disorder where through stress, sufferers consciously pull out small clumps of hair uncontrollably. Sam Faiers brought media attention to this condition around the same time of Scarlett’s suffering – which made me seek help and Sam’s openness about the impulsive disorder was really helpful to me. (I suffered a similar condition in my youth where in times of stress I would pull out my eyelashes). Fortunately for us, Scarlett’s experience with this condition appears to have been short-lived and with love and support seems to have been overcome.
I think a woman’s hair is more than just a statement of style. It’s an extension of their personality, strength, health and well being. I know how different and how fabulous a hair cut can make me feel and how when I am stressed and run down how it shows in the lack lustre and frailness of my locks. Having seen my Mum lose her hair to cancer and Scarlett having suffered from Trichotillomania, I do think having her hair cut in this way to raise awareness and funds for charity, through her own volition at 7 years of age, is an incredibly brave and lovely thing to do. It might not be a marathon or a grand gesture under extreme conditions, but neither is it ‘just’ a hair cut and I couldn’t be more proud!
Yesterday was Scarlett’s appointment at the salon and here is her story in pictures;
When we arrived at the salon Scarlett (& Jem who had tagged along for moral support!) were made deliciously naughty hot chocolates with more squirty cream and marshmallows than were strictly necessary! Such a lovely gesture and on a wet and blustery day and we’re talking chocolate and children here – this was the perfect ice-breaker for a little girl’s first salon appointment – and such an important one at that!
Wendy undid Scarlett’s French plaits and assessed Scarlett’s hair (clean and in great condition), all the while talking to her and explaining what she was doing.
Then, as per instructions of the donation, Wendy re-plaited Scarlett’s clean, dry hair, banding it top and bottom, ready for the chop.
With the two 10+ inch plaits removed, the cut was already taking shape and my little girl looked totally different, but now the proper pampering and styling began.
After an hour of Wendy’s expertise in shampooing, conditioning, cutting, straightening, blow-drying and trimming my ‘Little Princess’ was sporting a FABULOUS new ‘do!’
Thanks Wendy! Scarlett loves it, I love it (I can’t wait to get myself booked in), – even Jem loves it….
After standing in front of the mirror, twiddling the ends, flicking and swishing around the lounge room for some time … my little girl went to bed last night with a wonderful new haircut and a very big smile on her face.
Massive THANKS to Wendy and Maura and the team at Tranquility Day Spa in Horsforth and to those generous people who have already donated to our justgiving site. There’s still time to support the Little Princess Trust via Scarlett’s fundraising page at http://bit.ly/1FLvy59 or the collection box in the salon.
Perhaps her actions have inspired you to make a donation yourself?
It’s all been a bit hair-raising … but totally WORTH IT!