Today I took Little E to the doctor for a checkup. Before we left, the physician’s assistant said she likes what I’ve done with my hair, that the highlights look nice. She paid me a compliment, so I said thank-you, but it took me a minute to figure out what she was talking about.

About nine months ago I got my hair cut. Shorter than I can remember having it maybe since I was a little girl. For the past several years (decades??) it was all one length to my chin or shoulders. No bangs. Nothing fancy. The thing is, I was born with a patch of silvery grey hair. So my whole life I’ve been grey. I remember as a teenager doing a scavenger hunt with my youth group. One of the things on the list was a grey or white hair. I walked into the bathroom, looked in the mirror, flipped a section of hair over to reveal my grey streak and plucked one out. Done.

In my twenties I noticed a few more silver hairs. The patch appeared to be growing. By the time my thirties rolled around it had spread. Now, I see them all over my head. There’s no escaping them. They no longer hide underneath. They scream for attention.

I’ve never really been one to dye my hair. Once, when I was sixteen, my best friend and I dyed our hair black. Well, okay, it was one of those temporary, wash-out-in-so-many-washes deals. It didn’t cover my grey or the red so I started washing it out right away. My mom thought I had ruined my hair. But the black came out. Eventually.

Years later, my hair dresser talked me into highlights. They were beautiful. But they were also expensive. And not all that noticeable. So I said I wouldn’t color my hair until I turned forty. So about a year or two ago I tried one of those washable hair dyes again. Red this time. For once, I wanted to be a true red-head. Not trying to guess what hair color to put on my driver’s license. I liked it, but didn’t love it. And it didn’t cover the grey.

I knew when I got my hair cut short it would expose my grey even more. And this morning was not the first time someone has commented on my hair, what looks like highlights. I’ve decided that for now, I’ll just say thank-you and not explain that I don’t have any, that it’s just me going grey.

Of course, I reserve the right to change my mind at any moment.

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