Weren't you blonde?

November 12, 2007

by Jen Bakken

Last Tuesday began as any other day. It was hectic, but not out of the ordinary.

First, it was up early, get the kids ready, make breakfast, then run around asking, “Did I sign your reading slip?”

“Do you need lunch money?” As I reminded my family that it was Nov. I said, “No, you can’t wear shorts, and yes, you do need a jacket.”

As I was about to dash out the door, I realized I’d only applied make up to one of my eyes. After a trip to the mirror and a little mascara I was finally ready to go.

I headed to the Delano Elementary School to volunteer in my children’s classrooms.

While I walked the hallway near the second grade classrooms, a young girl said hello to me. I thought maybe she recognized me from the newspaper. (Sometimes kids see me and ask me when they can be in the paper or ask me why I’m at the school.)

I love children and stopped to talk to her. She was a cute little girl with short dark brown hair. Just as I was expecting her to ask me about the newspaper, she said, “Aren’t you Brynna’s mom?”

I told her yes, and I thought to myself again how adorable she was and how neat it was that she is a friend of my daughter. And almost before I completed that thought, she tilted her head a bit, squinted her big brown eyes, and looked up at my head.

I couldn’t help but feel self-conscious. I wondered if I had something in my hair. Did I have dandruff? Before I could reach up to touch my head and check, she asked, “Weren’t you blonde?”

I replied, “Yes, sort of, but I colored my hair.”

She corrected me, “You mean you dyed it.”

“Yes,” I admitted to her.

Then she quickly asked, “Why?”

Now, I’m used to children and their bluntness, I think it’s cute, but I must have been a little sensitive on this day. It took me a bit to get over the shock of this inquisitive young gal’s question.

Many thoughts and responses ran through my head. She stood there in silence, awaiting my answer, staring right at me. And, thinking I didn’t understand her the first time, she quipped, “I mean, why did you dye it?”

I wondered why I’d consider explaining, to her, that I’m starting to get grey hair, or that I tried to dye it myself to save money.

Suddenly, as if she grew annoyed waiting for my answer, she shrugged her shoulders and said, “Well, it looked better before.”

Then she walked away.

Here in Delano, we are proud of our community, our schools, and our children. . . why not have a column about our little ‘tigers’?

You can e-mail your tiny tales to: jbakken@hjpub.com or mail them to Tiny Tales, PO Box 498, Delano, MN 55328, or just stop by our offi ce next to New Attitudes Salon, Hwy 12 East.