“Can I do your hair?” A somewhat common question in our home. Unfortunately, mommy has curly hair, so often, doing my hair isn’t so easy. But today, she seized the opportunity as my wet hair was pulled up in a semi-straight ponytail. Soon, my hair is cascading to my shoulders, ready for the miniature stylist to do her magic.
Her 5 year old hands softly sweep through my hair, pulling here, tucking there. It’s magical. The tingles you get from anyone playing with your hair are magnified because it’s the tiny human whom you made and whom you love with all of your being smoothing your hair away from your face.
She continues her work, combing her fingers through my damp mane. She stops to consider color and style options. All purple on one side, all pink on the other. Perfect. “It’s the best style I’ve ever made! It’s…dazzling!” She announces when her masterpiece is complete.
And I am left with a beautiful hairstyle and the memory of her little hands in my hair…hoping to hold on to it forever.
The treadmill slows to a stop. My overworked body just collapses onto the couch, seeking a needed respite from motion. But despite the welcome (however temporary it may be) relief from the pain of gravity’s unrelenting barrage on my wear bones and muscles, I find myself immediately back on my feet.
A familiar and fun song pipes through the speakers of our 1994 stereo system. A song that reminds me of dancing with my son when he was younger. I can’t help it. I have to dance. And I feel free. True happiness. I’m doing what I love. One of my passions.
One song turns into another, and my body keeps going. And then another. And another. I don’t find my self actually happy very often, unfortunately. So I just can’t bring myself to stop yet. My back is beginning to nag at me, reminding me of how much I already worked out just moments ago on the treadmill. But I dance on. “Just a few minutes longer,” I answer back to my pain.
Eventually, the time comes to bring my body to a stop. To end what makes me feel alive and smile in my soul. Minute by passing minute, a stiffness creeps in. Subtle at first but a warning of what is soon to follow. Stiffness turns to pain. Pain turns into…worsening pain. And that’s my fate for the rest of the day. Maybe the next. Ache. Suffering. Torment. More fierce than the familiar agony.
And so comes the price of happiness. My joy causes my misery. It’s just…mean. Why does a simple pleasure have to come at so high a cost? It sounds too simple to say “it’s not fair.” But it’s not. I want to be able to do what I love. But I can’t. Not without consequence. And unfortunately, that consequence, that pain, is the thief of future joy. “Not unless you want to hurt all day long,” it whispers in my ear, sending a meloncholy chill down my spine. And snuffing out any fire to dance again.
Until a really good song comes on 🙂