I have had many opportunities in my life to feel super white. Growing up, our family just so happened to be best friends with the one black family in our neighborhood. Often enough we attended christenings, ceremonies, and other festivities at their all black church. I remember noticing our white family amidst the sea of brown, but I did not care very much. Those times were not my whitest days. These good friends also invited us to family gatherings, celebrations, and graduations, where my family members were four of the few pasty people ready to party it up at this neighborhood home…but those were not my whitest days. I have been to Ghana twice. During one of our visits, my mother-in-law spotted one white lady across the street while we were eating at a restaurant, and she loudly shouted out, “Oh, look! It is your sistah!” But that was not my whitest day.
No, my whitest day occurred in the privacy of my own bathroom. It was just me….my biracial daughter….and a bottle of olive oil.
Fixing my daughters’ hair has been a journey. When my oldest daughter turned one, I realized that something needed to be done. That Pantene Pro-V spray bottle of leave-in conditioner was failing miserably. Since that time I have scoured the internet, binge watched you tube videos, stopped random people in Kohl’s Department Store who had amazing curls, purchased products, then purchased more products, and then purchased some more products. After years of trial and error, I am certainly not ready to launch a website on how to create the ultimate coiled coiffures. On the other hand, I feel like I do a pretty awesome job with the tresses of my two curly cuties.
Nevertheless, there is always room for improvement, right? So about a year ago, my sister-in-law, who had gone natural, told me a couple of times that she puts oil in her hair. She explained that it might help keep M’s hair moisturized longer because I had been complaining that the roots of my daughter’s hair looked dry so quickly. She told me that the olive oil that I already had in my house would do just fine.
So one day after a hair wash, I sat M down in the tub, and I started to pour. I just drizzled at first. However, the oil seemed to disappear into her hair. I then poured a little more liberally, and although her scalp was oily, the actual hair strands seemed untouched. I then dumped oil into my hands and began slathering it all over M’s hair. After I was finished, I was astonished by how much of the bottle that I had used! “Wow,” I thought, “her hair must have really been thirsty. I hope I used enough.” I placed a plastic shower cap over her head and then her regular shower cap over the plastic one. We then spent the rest of the day in doors while I let that oil “soak in.”
It was bedtime.
We climbed the stairs and headed toward my bathroom.
I removed shower cap number one….Huh, what’s all that stuff in the plastic cap? It looks so wet in there. Weird. Hmmm, let’s take the plastic one off.
I peeled back the plastic cap…..
“Oh. MY. GOSH! Quick, M, quick! Get in the tub! Get in the tub!!! Oil is dripping everywhere!!!! OIL IS EVERYWHERE!!!!”
Let’s just say, that M’s hair was moisturized. Apparently, a little bit of oil can go a long way – especially if you lock up that oil with wet hair in a shower cap and create a mini rainforest for your daughter’s head. So if you use half a bottle of oil…well…you’ve got problems.
M sat in the tub with oil streaming down her face, neck, and back. As I began squeezing oil out of my daughter’s hair with a towel, a big curly hair faux-pas (Towels cause frizz! But there was nothing else to do), I thought to myself:
This day was the whitest day of my life. I had been so excited to try this new hair trick (Should “so excited” describe my feelings about hair techniques? My daughters can testify that those words are dead on accurate.), and in a brief moment of despair I thought, “I will never get the hang of this.”
But don’t fear, ladies and gentleman, I rallied and have gotten the hang of it. Oil is now a part of our every other week routine.
I imagine that every white parent in an interracial marriage has a super white day. Perhaps I am wrong. I am just thankful that thus far my whitest day has only been witnessed by me, my gorgeous daughter, and a bottle of olive oil.
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