First Hair Cut

Judah is 11 months old.

He will turn one year old on June 24th. It’s kind of hard to believe that almost a year has gone by since he was born. It’s been a busy year, that’s for sure! I haven’t been able to just enjoy each and every moment of Judah’s first year in the way that I wish I could have, but it’s okay…..Angelica is alive and that statement right there, kind of puts it all into perspective.

Enough with the deep and serious talk, let talk about something a bit lighter, shall we?

I love little baby hair. It’s so cute and soft and fuzzy. Judah has a cowlick in the back of his head and it makes his hair stand straight up. It’s so SO cute. Up until now, there’s been no need or reason to cut Judah’s hair, and I like to leave my babies hair alone because usually as soon as you cut it, they end up looking like little boys and I already have two little boys…I still want my baby!!!!!

So Happy

But……it was getting so goofy looking and I just wasn’t sure what to do.

I thought about shaving his head, like the rest of us were doing, but I really wasn’t sure that’s what I wanted to do. I mulled the idea around inside my head over the weekend and by Monday night I decided to go for it.

Cheeky Little Monkey

We had just finished dinner and Judah needed a bath. He is not the tidiest eater. Typically we take him directly from the dinner table and put him straight into the bath…and he has food EVERYWHERE!

Monday night, I figured that I could buzz his head before we bathed him.

So Cute

Man, this kids is SO cute! (At least I think so!)

He did so good. I’ll admit that I was nervous about how he would handle the clippers and whether he would sit still enough for me to actually buzz his head, but he wasn’t scared of the noise. He didn’t fuss or squirm too much, just played with a few random things that we gave him and in minutes it was all done. Here he is freshly buzzed, just before his bath.

All Gone

I managed to snap this shot of him on Tuesday morning. I sure love this little boy. I think that in some ways the hair cut makes him look more like a baby….which I’m not exactly upset about. Mind you, he looks like a freaking HUGE baby! You should see him in a pair of footy pyjamas……so SO cute!

Okay, enough of the cuteness talk….here he is!

My Baby

Once More…with Love! (and MANY pictures)

Earlier this week we had our last and final head shaving party.

Angelica’s hair (which had started to grow in so SO cute!) was just in the beginning stages of falling out. She still had a head full of short hair, but we could see evidence that it was getting ready to fly, fly away! There was hair on her pillow and lose hairs on her neck and on her clothes….she was definitely shedding.

She could just wait and let it fall out on it’s own but there is something just kind of nasty about waking up in the morning and rubbing your face in a pillow full of short hairs. Even worse is when you wake up with a bunch of tiny hairs in your mouth and up your nose. BLECH!

DSC_0002

My sister, Michelle – isn’t she pretty?

So, when my mom and sister came over to get their heads shaved, Angelica had already decided to preemptively shave her head too.

We’ve joked around that Angelica has a future in hairdressing with all this head shaving that she’s done over the last year.

DSC_0005

Chelle had brought her kids with her and my other sister had dropped Jack off for a visit and so we had the 3 bigger girls helping to watch the 3 little boys. Cousins!!!!!!!! So! Much! Fun! Jack and Zach are already walking like little men, but Judah is still clinging to the walls and the furniture….look at those thighs – SMOOSHY BABY THIGHS…NOM! NOM! NOM!

DSC_0010

As always, Geli’s kind of goofed around when she’s done the head shaving…she decided that Aunty Chelle needed a mowhawk this time around.

DSC_0015

Because there was hair ALL over the bathroom floor, we put Zach and Judah into the bath tub to keep them contained….it was a good idea, until Judah grabbed the taps and turned the bath on. Yah! They were dressed…..Oh Well, they had fun playing in the water. It kept them occupied until we were finished.

DSC_0032

Zach wasn’t so sure that he liked playing in the bath WITH Judah…..

DSC_0043

…..but he is just SO DARN CUTE, isn’t he?

In the meantime, Geli finished up Aunty Chelle’s hair and they did the final check. It’s awful to get your head shaved and then to walk away and find out later that you have a few scraggly long hairs that didn’t get taken care of…usually you end up with a few behind an ear or sticking out of the top of your head. There is an art to “rockin’ the bald look” and it requires some effort! Ha Ha Ha!

DSC_0045

Then it was Aunty Chelle’s turn to get back…, to get revenge…, to help shave Angelica’s head!

DSC_0054

Jack was helping out by taking care of Aunty Chelle’s necklace. He did such a good job, too! Love the steely blues, man!

DSC_0058

Aunt Chelle figured that Angelica needed one triangle patch on the top of her head. It was very modern looking, no?

DSC_0066

Becca gave me a great big CHEESE face! Silly goose!

DSC_0067

While Brianna went in for the close up…..

DSC_0068

While everyone else was going bald…..Judah was practicing his best “greaser” hairstyle. Looking pretty good, buddy! Looking pretty good!

DSC_0069

Aunty Chelle finished up on Gelica’s hair….

DSC_0070

And then it was Nana’s turn.

DSC_0082

Geli wanted to try out a Mowhawk for Nana too. She looked pretty cute with a punk hair style, too! But we didn’t figure that the mowhawk would look amazing for Aunty Brynn and Uncle Chris’s wedding in August and so Angelica shaved it off.

DSC_0118

After they were finished, we headed down stairs to get a few good pics of the baldies outside.

DSC_0132

Aren’t they pretty? Who needs hair? And this way, we’ll not have to do our hair over the summer, how awesome is that?

DSC_0139

Three Brave, Bald Beauties….

Bald Once Again...for the final time!Josiah and I shaved our heads this morning….I don’t have any pics of him, yet! but here is the most recent photo of me. I took this picture this morning and put it on Facebook with the caption “Bald Once Again…for the final time!”

This is IT! After Geli’s hair falls out this time and when she’s done this last half of this stage….it’s done! Her hair will start to grow back and we will be moving on away from this past year. It’s exciting to grab ahold of these times, knowing that they signal the beginning of the end.

Shaving your head is not easy. It’s not something that I enjoy doing, nor do I want to continue doing it. I’m “okay” with it, but i wouldn’t choose to be bald for no reason! My hair was close to 2 inches long. I could actually style it. I was liking that it was starting to grow out and yet…….to stand with, to support, to love, to create a safe place for my daughter….I’d do it a thousand times. To see her bravely confront her chemo induced hair loss and chose to deal with it proactively, knowing that “it’s okay to be bald”, makes my heart sing.

I believe that she sees herself and her beauty regardless of whether she has hair or not. Her hair is not what makes her beautiful, therefore her lack of hair does not speak of a lack of beauty. She is beautiful! She will always be beautiful and her beauty shines from the inside out. Her confidence in herself illuminates that beauty a thousand times more.

While this time has been tough….in fact it’s been brutal. There have been SO MANY GOOD THINGS that we choose to embrace as we acknowledge the tough times. Angelica’s understanding of and confidence in her true beauty is something I’m so thankful for because that is something she will carry with her forever.

Already There

Angelica, Have I told you that I love you recently? Have I told you HOW MUCH I love you?

I do. I love you SO SO MUCH.

It’s not necessary for you to shave your head. Not now, not ever. If you don’t want you, you don’t have to.

2

There are aspects of this whole situation that suck and the whole “losing your hair” thing is one of those things that just SUCKS! It’s “not” really that big of a deal, but I think that it’s more “what” it represents. There is a starkness and an “in your face” reality of it all. You can’t pretend that this is not happening. You are then faced (literally) on a day to day basis of the harsh reality this whole journey.

I know that I don’t have to shave my hair. I know that you’ve not asked me to do this and yet I want to. I want to be there with you along this road. I can’t be inside of you protecting you from all the chemo and all the side effects. I cannot calm that storms that rage inside your mind and body, but in this way, I can join you. And although you still currently have hair, it’s looking like it might not be there sometime in the future and I want you to know that…..

1. it’s just hair. It’s not what makes us beautiful. We are beautiful regardless and our hair is something fun that we get to play with, like jewelery or make up or clothes. It’s adorns us, it doesn’t define us.

2. Obviously it will grow back….it keeps doing that and every day that we live……brings us one day closer to the day that we can walk away from the uphill stage of this battle.

3. Even if it’s not necessary for you to shave your hair, or if it doesn’t fall out…….I don’t mind. I just want you to know that I’m already down this part of the road and it’s not bad…..maybe a little chilly in the frosty winter chill (HA) ….but it’s okay.

5

I know that this part of the whole ordeal is not your favorite, but again….you are weathering this all with so much strength and grace and I’m SO PROUD OF YOU!

You are amazing!
You are gorgeous!
You are so brave!
You are so strong!

I love you!

If you do need to walk on this side of the road….I’m already here and its okay!

Love

I’ve been sitting here writing and deleting this first sentence over and over and over unsure of which words to write.

I don’t have the words…….

I LOVE words. I love to use words to paint pictures, to express myself, to help bring clarity out of chaos, to communicate, to share to love…..I love words and right now the combo of exhaustion, and feeling overwhelmed and completely unworthy have left me without the use of my words.

She shaved her head for me, for us….for my daughter, for my family, and I can’t find the words to express my appreciation, my love, my amazement at her strength, caring, compassion, drive…….. She is amazing.

We’ve been friends for almost our whole entire lives. We’ve been through ups and downs. We’ve been through good times and bad times. We’ve lived near and far and through it all we have loved. I honestly don’t ever remember being mad at her. I’m sure that as kids growing up, we must have had the odd squabble now and then, but I don’t remember ever being upset or angry or disappointed with her. She is my forever friend and I love her dearly.

The cheese and bake shop that she manages, heard about Angelica and decided to donate their tips to our family. Hearing this, my friend announced that when the total of donations reached $2,000 – she would shave her head.

This is not something that we asked for and to be honest, I’m not sure that I really wanted her to shave her head. It’s not an easy thing to do and I just didn’t want her to feel pressured into doing it. At the same time, there are so many things that I have learned from shaving my head, and I wouldn’t want to stop her from her own journey in life……

I really wasn’t sure that they would end up reaching the goal anyway, so I stopped thinking about it.

LoveAt the end of August, the goal was reached (and in fact it has been surpassed) and my friend set the date for the big head shave for this past Saturday September 11.

We weren’t able to be at the actual shaving, but we participated in the event through Skype.

There were tears and laughter and the emotions ran high.

We were so touched to have someone sacrifice of their time and energy and their hair in support of us. We were so touched by all who donated and took part in supporting us in any way big and small.

I’m fumbling for words and the more I try to type, the less able I seem to be able to say what I really want to say.

My friend, you are beautiful. You are amazing. You are such a support and encouragement. In your own times of trial and stress, you give and give and give and LOVE. We feel so blessed to have you in our lives.

I love you more than my words can adequately express.

For all you’ve done and given and sacrificed and loved………Thank You!

Bald Is……..

It’s been about 3 weeks since we had our big head shaving party.

I’ve shaved my head 2 more times since then. I will most likely continue to shave my head until Geli’s hair grows back. This will probably be sometime in the new year. I will be completely honest and say that I’m not looking forward to going through the winter bald…..it’s gonna be some mighty bit cold….we’re probably gonna be running our heater a bit more than normal and I guess that as stupid as I feel I look in hats – I’m gonna be getting some.

I really didn’t think too much about shaving my head when we did it. I knew that the possibility was that Geli would be losing her hair at some point but I hadn’t given much more thought to it all except that I knew that when it happened, that I’d shave my head too.

I watched her hair slowly start to fall out hair by hair and then it started to come out in hand fulls. Every morning it seemed there was a bigger handful and her pony tails got thinner and thinner.

I don’t know exactly what she was thinking as she experienced her hair falling out, all I know is that I desperately wanted her to not feel weird or uncomfortable or goofy looking or odd or different or any of the other thoughts that might run through a teenage girls head regarding her hair or lack thereof. I am her mother and I think that Angelica is beautiful. I see the beauty in her face, in the sweet almond shape of her almost black colored eyes, and the high curve of her cheekbones. Her dimples are amazing and her smile is so sweet with such beautifully colored lips. She is beautiful.

DSC00505

But…..her beauty goes so much further than that….she has a beautiful nature and spirit. She is lovely both on the inside and out.

Now even though we’d had conversations in the past about not being defined by how you look, but by who you are……talking about that and living it are two totally different things.

Here we are at a time in Geli’s life when looks could becoming more important. She’s heading into her teenage years and so often kids just want to fit in. There are so few who truly want to stand out and be “different”. Fortunately for us, Geli’s always kind of walked to the beat of her own drum….but this is taking it all to a whole new level.

You can’t hide bald. Well, you can get a wig…..which Geli has, and I’m just trying to get a good picture of her wearing it. (It’s been day after day of us being too busy, or her not feeling well or the weather being too hot……..do you have any idea how hot it is to wear a wig??? They even sell these little gel bands that you can wear under wigs to keep your head cooler on hotter days! Crazy!) But even with the wig on……you can’t just “do it” like you did your own hair. Especially if you wore your hair up in tight little ponytails mostly every day.

But, your other options are to wear a hat, or a scarf or…..to just wear your baldness out there…

I’ve chosen to just be bald. I want this whole “bald thing” to be as normal as it can possibly be. Or maybe I want the baldness to be a non factor or as much of a non-factor as it can possibly be.

Geli is completely comfortable in her scarves….she’s been wearing them forever and it feels “normal” for her to wear them. She’s also gone just bald too and has worn her wig as well. I’m hoping that the whole “hair” thing will just become a non-factor for our family. I can see us wearing hats, scarves, wigs, flower headbands, and…nothing and choosing to do it depending on our mood or our outfit….more like accessorizing, if you will.

I wore a blue wig out to the mall the other day.

It’s so interesting to be bald. You get so many looks but very few people just ask why? I feel so much more “normal” bald, and to put the blue wig on…I felt so conspicuous….which believe me….blue wig or bald….when you’re 5 foot 10 inches tall….either stands out in a fairly big way.

I can’t help but think about it as I go about our small community. I stand out. I’m not even trying to cover it up. I do wonder if people see beyond the bald head. Do they see me, the person? I know that even at my exercise class there are people who have not recognized me yet? They have not been able to see beyond the baldness. I wonder to whom I’ve done the same thing. What have I not been able to see beyond? All of this really makes you think.

But….if I can even if just in a small measure make this a tiny bit more “acceptable” because believe me…this is not normal – then all is good.

Now, it’s not all bad being bald.

We’ve discovered that there are some amazing perks to being bald.

Things like……

I can shower anytime day or night and it is so easy because there is no hair to wash or dye or style? It’s just in and out and done! AWESOME!

When I get up in the morning to get ready! Dressed, make up and DONE! Literally 10 mins or less! so SO AWESOME!

There is no more worrying about messing my hair up when I pull a shirt or sweater over my head…..the first two weeks were so funny as I’d stretch the necks of my shirts out really big to avoid messing up my hair….and then I’d realize that I had no hair to mess up…

I don’t have to carry bobby pins or elastics or clips around with me any more.

There is no hair for the baby to puke in or grab. (Which is then even more fabulous because then I don’t have to take a shower to deal with the baby puke in the hair)

I’m not trying to get my hot, sticky, sweaty hair off my neck in the summer heat.

I’m considerably cooler this summer.

I can wash my face in the evening and there is no hair to hold or pin back and no worries about getting soap or water in it.

I can put moisturizer on my face without needing to pin my hair back or worrying about getting cream in my hair…in fact, I just rub my moisturizer right into my scalp and whatever little hair there is…..can always use a little extra moisturizer, eh?

I only need one towel after a shower. I don’t need the second one for my hair. Cuts down on laundry, eh?

I’m sure there are tons more Positives about being bald…..or even just interesting facts…..

Are you bald? Have you been bald? Do you have anything interesting to add to this post? Leave a comment if you can think of any other positive or interesting things about being bald….

The Wig Must Choose You…

Last Tuesday, we had our first ever head shaving party, we were trying out all the different wigs and scarves and hats that we owned, were lent or had been given……and some how someone mentioned that the wig must choose you.

There is this one wig that pretty much NO ONE has looked good in….and other wigs that have looked amazing on different people.

So that turned into the catch phrase and it has carried forward….even on the day when Geli went and choose her “real” wig. She looked at a few. Even had a hard time choosing between different styles an colors. She tried one on and it looked pretty good, but then she tried one more one and that was it. Whether she chose it, or it chose her…..it was just “The Right One” and when we do finally get to pick it up…supposedly later this week…we’ll show you just how AMAZING she looks. I think she looks pretty amazing with or without hair, but there was just something about this wig…the color, the cut….it’s totally awesome.

Well, Wednesday morning, last week – Nana Karen showed up asking for her hair cut…..

100_6034

Here is mid-cut…..

100_6039

Shortly after Nana’s cut was finished…Aunty Chelle showed up…

100_6053

Aunty Chelle is pretty goofy and here she is with the typical shave down the middle….

100_6063

And here she is rocking the massive comb over….

100_6064

After the head shave was finished, Aunty Chelle tried on a few wigs and unbelievable…she rocked the wigs….even this lovely green one. This is the wig that looked good on NO ONE and yet….aside from the crazy eyes, she rocks the green wig…This wig obviously chose her….

100_6067

Even the crazy pink wig looked awesome on her….

100_6066

Here is the group shot at the end of the massive hair cutting session. Geli’s getting pretty good at the close head shave.

100_6069

That’s How Strong My Love Is

This was an e-mail sent from my sister Debbie to Angelica. I’ve asked both of them for permission to share it with you.

So, I had an appointment to get a perm this weekend. I’ve always wanted some wave in my straw-like, straight hair, so I thought it might be a fun thing to do for the summer. I didn’t realize Geli’s hair loss was coming on this soon.

DSC00509

When Geli first was going thru this whole cancer process, I told my husband that I would want to shave my head when the time came for Geli to do it. In my mind, I can’t imagine having to go thru everything that she is going thru and not even having a choice about it. At least I could choose to loose my hair. But when the time came, I was a lot more nervous than I expected. Would those around me still think I was beautiful, would my husband still want to hold me, would my infant son still recognize me…I know how I look in a swim cap and SEXY definitely comes to mind. (NOT!) But, it is just hair. And…I have the choice.

My beautiful niece, you did not choose this path, but you are weathering it beautifully in your own unique way. Geli, you have always been a “walk to the beat of your own drum” kind of girl. You makes crazy cool fashion choices, and you aren’t swayed too much by the hype of most teens today.

DSC00517

As an adult, with all my grown up-ness,reasoning and “maturity”, I still have fears or concerns. I can’t imagine what it would be like to experience this as a teen. But again, it’s just hair. And…I have the choice, you didn’t.

Geli, when you were a baby, I taught you to scream for joy when you saw someone you loved (much to the delight of your mom). Sweetheart, now you teach me to scream out for those I love. Whether it’s screaming out prayers of injustice or encouragement, or screaming out fears or shrieks of joy. I guess i want you to know that in the same moments we can scream out for joy, we can be screaming out for fear or pain as well. And that’s OK.

DSC00521

Geli, I want to walk this road with you as much as I can. But when it comes down to it, this is your journey. We stand along the way with you cheering you on. Sometimes we walk a bit with you, sometimes someone like your mom or dad carries you, and sometimes you are on your own. But in this crazy act, we join you.

I guess, Geli, by supporting you this way,I want to let you know that you are loved, beautiful, gorgeous, talented, and that you are brave and valiant. And in all your strength, it’s OK sometimes to feel nervous or some fear. Because we make the choice not to live in that fear. And we know that perfect love cast out all fear, and Geli you are surround by “perfect love”…and a whole lot of our love too!

DSC00525

Needless to say, I called the salon to cancel the perm. 🙂

peace.
love.
shalom.

Aunty Bubbie

DSC00536 copy

That’s How Strong My Love Is

If I was the sun way up there
I’d go with love most everywhere
I’ll be the moon when the sun goes down
Just to let you know that I’m still around

That’s how strong my love is, oh
That’s how strong my love is,
That’s how strong my love is, baby, baby,
That’s how strong my love is.

I’ll be the weeping willow drowning in my tears
You can go swimming when you’re here
I’ll be the rainbow when the sun is gone
Wrap you in my colors and keep you warm

That’s how strong my love is, darling,
That’s how strong my love is, baby,
That’s how strong my love is, oooh,
That’s how strong my love is.

I’ll be the ocean so deep and wide
I’ll get out the tears whenever you cry,
I’ll be the breeze after the storm is gone
To dry your eyes and love you warm

That’s how strong my love is, baby,
That’s how strong my love is,
That’s how strong my love is, darling,
That’s how strong my love is,

That’s how strong my love is, so deep in,
Well, that’s how strong my love is
So much love, yes so much love, oohh,
Yes so much love, yes so much love,
Anything that I can do, I’ll be good for you,
Any kind of love you want, I’ll be with you….

One of these things is not like the others

“One of these things is not like the others” was my favorite Sesame Street song.  You have a choice of three or four things, and one of them doesn’t fit the pattern for some reason. Well some people following our family have noticed that everyone is bald, except dad (that would be me).  (And Jeremy is excluded from this if he wants to be).

I just wanted to set a few people at ease as to why I still sport my nice long locks. We have shaved quite a few heads over here, and there are quite a few more pictures to show of people who have joined in, and one tear-jerking email that we will post from one of the shaved that explains why they are doing it. During all the festivities, Gelica informed me that she didn’t want me to shave my head.

I like my hair, but its not the most important thing in the world to me, and it doesn’t even compare to the importance of Angelica. I sat down later and talked to Angelica about what her thoughts were and what all this means to her. The different people that are cutting their hair means a lot to her. She is learning about how people care for each other, how people “join” in standing with her, and a host of other valuable life lessons, but she is starting to realize that EVERYTHING is changing.

That’s an interesting thought, because in a lot of ways for her, everything has changed. There are many things in her life that will never be the same. There are days when all the change is too much… not many days, but some, and right now, she doesn’t want me to change.

Spending this past month or so with her so close, through so many trying things has brought us closer together than I ever could have expected. I am really really really in love with my daughter and am really enjoying all of the wonderful things that make her soooo strong and able to face this. We have our own inside jokes, learned each others opinions, and many more things that will last a life-time.

If she wants one thing to remain “constant” and she sees that in my appearance, then I am all for that. But in the spring when everyone else’s hair is growing out and things are returning to a new normal, there is a fund-raiser called “balding for dollars” and I’ll probably be there. I have been assured that I would raise a lot of money being a guy with long hair. I also realize that we have benefited from so many programs and special funds that if I can give back then, then I will.

Jon

The First Cut is the Deepest

Well, yesterday was a momentous day in our house.

We had the first ever head shaving party.

When Geli was diagnosed with Leukemia, the Doctors and Nurses had mentioned that Angelica might lose her hair as a side effect of the chemotherapy. She seemed to be okay with that, but then…it hadn’t happened yet and so we figured that we’d just deal with it, if and when it happened.

Well, Geli managed to make it all the way through the first month before her hair started to thin and then….it started to thin quite rapidly.

The biggest issue was the hair falling out and sticking to her body. You know that feeling when you’ve got a stray hair stuck to your back and you can’t quite get it off….now imagine 50 hairs all over your arms and back and neck and inside your shirt….not fun eh?

And so, yesterday I asked Angelica if she’d like to shave my head so that she could see what it would look like, if she were to shave her head…and she said yes!

So, we grabbed the buzzers, took a picture to show the “before”……

100_5969

….then we cut the pony tail off….

100_5975

……and then started shaving….

100_5978

We had lots of help…..

100_5977

Lots and LOTS of help….probably more than we really needed,but hey! Gotta pay attention to the details, right?

100_5987

And then we moved on to Angelica….

100_5989

And Siah decided that he wanted to get in on the action…

100_5996

But trying to shaving a moving target……

100_6000

Well, lets jut say that his head shave is a little less than perfect…

100_6001

We finally remembered to take a good shot of Momma and Geli…

100_6007

Xani came home after dinner and decided she wanted in on the action…

So, here was the before shot…

100_6008

And here we are after it’s all done…

100_6018

And later on, Papa came over to join in…

Here we are listening to him ask for just a little off the edges…

100_6021

We figured while we were at it, we might as well see what Papa would look like with a little male pattern baldness…

100_6026

We needed to rock star it out a little…..

100_6027

Here is the official Head Shot…

100_6028

But…..the best part of the whole day AND night was when Pap put on this wig….

100_6029

And watching him do the head shake and hand flick made it apparently obvious that he’s had long hair in the past….

100_6030

He looked like he’d just stepped out of the Coast Capital Banking Commercial….it was AWESOME!

We had a good day with lots of laughter and although it could have been a tough day….I think it turned out okay.

We will be adding pictures of Nana Karen, and Aunty Chelle as soon as download them off the camera….they came over this morning to add their beauty to the mix……

Everyone looks so beautiful……its amazing how much stock you put in things like hair, but to see that hair only adds to your beauty…it doesn’t make or define you as beautiful…..Beauty is who you are!