Blonde as a bat

       I never was a natural blonde until I had my children.  

       Before they arrived, everyone assumed my hair color was – depending on my degree of blondness at the time – either the result of an incredibly expensive and skilled beautician, or, more often, a science experiment gone bad.

    But then I gave birth to one, then two, blond children.  The third arrived, shockingly, with black hair, but it was soon pushed out by white gold. 

    One day, I was grocery shopping at the Publix — the youngest sitting in the cart, the other two trailing behind, looking so much like shining Nordics frolicking amid the canned peas. Another shopper approached, looked them over, and smiled.  Then she turned to me and said, “Well, I can see where they got their hair.”

     Oh, the joy!  Oh, the pleasure! Oh, the pride!

     Oh, the deceit.

     Well, maybe they did get it from me.  Who knows how much Miss Clairol seeps through the placenta? And all that lemon juice my grandmother squirted on my head as a child… maybe it curdled and settled in my eggs. 

      At any rate, I smiled, and said nicely (and honestly) that I wished my hair looked like theirs. Then I finished my shopping and drove off, happy  to be a “natural” blonde  for the first time since I was 6.

    Motherhood gives strange and wonderful gifts.

     There’s free candy at Halloween, even when you are way past the age of trick-or-treating yourself.

     There’s free lawn mowing. And leaf raking.  Mopping, even, on occasion.

      There are squeaky yellow ducks in the bathtub, and swings in the back yard, and nutritionally useless but emotionally satisfying squirting yogurts in the fridge.

    And, then there’s the euphoria that the first fall sighting of a school bus brings.  Who knew that a clunky hunk of dirty yellow metal stopped in front of my house could bring such liberation and joy?

    For these things, and my, ahem, naturally blond hair, I have my kids to thank.

    The three blond ones.  And the fourth.  Who, because God has a wicked sense of humor, turned out to be a glorious, deep-hued, unfixable-with-lemon-juice, natural brunette.