I believe that everyone is born with the instinct to help other people.
Some of us outgrow it, some of us don’t. All kids struggle with sharing, but if you watch closely, you’ll see that more often than not, a child will hug another who is crying, will demand a bandage for a friend’s boo-boo, and decide to give up a beloved toy for someone else who might need it.
Sometimes, kids decide to give a piece of themselves. Literally.
Today, Mitzi joined the community of thousands of children who donate their hair to worthy organizations. She chose Wigs for Kids to be the recipient of her 12 inches of wavy locks — hair she’s been growing for nearly two years for just this purpose.
I’m all glowy with pride. I hope that whatever instinct my 8-year-old daughter has for giving remains intact. Ray and I try to model such behavior, in church offerings, in my participation in the Avon Walk for Breast Cancer, in Ray’s pro bono legal work in Boston and the surrounding communities. Sometimes, we wonder what actually rubs off on the kids. For now, it’s heartening to see that they have noticed what we do for other people — not much, but giving what we can.
It’s not easy for a child to change her entire outward appearance — when the stylist cut the ponytail off, Mitzi had a frozen, horrified look on her face. For so long — a good chunk of her life — she’s had long hair. To chop it off suddenly, well, it was a little shocking for us both. I reminded us that it’s just hair — it can grow back. Once the stylist had done her job, the worry was gone — what a cute ‘do! Mitzi couldn’t stop admiring herself….
And somewhere, some day, some child undergoing medical treatment for cancer or another disease, or a child born with no ability to grow hair, somewhere, some child will wear my daughter’s hair and will feel good, healthy, normal.
Mitzi will never know who gets her hair — in fact, she may not really remember much of this experience. But I will. Forever I will remember that my baby gave what she could so that somebody else could smile. A piece of herself will travel to another part of the country, and help someone have a better day — maybe even a better life.
How can you not smile?