Cathy, the Red Head Mommy

Grey roots

I am an inherently grateful person. Every day I recognize that I’m thankful for my health, my family, my job, the roof over my head – which I know sounds like some syrupy religious freak, but it’s true.

So it surprises me that I am well enough to celebrate Christmas with my husband’s and my family, and yet I’m a little pissed off. The onset of shingles occurred over six weeks ago, and I still have low-grade constant pain and raw, sensitive skin. But I’m no longer bed-ridden, and lucky to be able to enjoy the holiday. However there’s one teensy concern – my vanity.

I apply a shiny layer of Aquaphor to my nose and forehead, which means it’s impossible to wear makeup. I tweezed my eyebrows too much in high school, so now I only have scraggly hairs attempting to cover my brow like a bald man with a bad comb-over. Eyebrow pencil won’t stick to the greasy skin. My left eye is still puffy and red and I’m afraid to put on mascara and eye shadow for fear it will hurt to take it off.

The worst part is my roots. I’ve dyed my hair red for over 20 years, so almost no one knows me as the blonde I grew up as. I started turning grey in my 30’s, and now my natural hair is almost completely grey and white. The left side of my scalp is still burning, so I can’t dye my hair and my roots are now over an inch long.

When did I get to be so vain? I’m excited to spend the holiday with my family, but I’m dreading the photos. This is the time I take photos that will be blown up into 8x10s with a frame that says “Family” on it. I’m afraid I’ll look like Lily, the mom from “The Musters.”

My plan is to wear a big Santa hat that will cover my roots and forehead and avoid cameras as much as possible.

My vanity inspired me to write a little Christmas song to the tune of “Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer.” If you can carry a tune, you’re welcome to sing it out loud:

Cathy, the red head mommy

Had a very harsh disease

And if you ever saw her

You would want to laugh and tease

Shingles – they covered her face

Set her head and scalp aflame

She couldn’t put on makeup

Like all them other classy dames

She was groggy from the meds

Her roots had turned to grey

Cathy with her hair so white

Got AARP’s invite

Now with the family photos

Taken throughout Christmas eve

Cathy, the red head mommy:

I’m burning every shot of me!!!


Filed under Anxiety, Humor, Recuperating

14 responses to “Cathy, the Red Head Mommy

  1. You are looking so much better. Sorry I wish I had an answer for you regarding hair color but I think you already found a very clever solution. and LOVED THE SONG

  2. You are scary good at these songs. Hang in there. You’ll be able to color your hair soon enough. That said, I’d be freaking out too.

  3. Consider your timing very lucky – what other family events accept, no, ENCOURAGE the wearing of a large furry hat?

  4. Thanks for reminding me. Yes I am lucky.

  5. You have no idea how happy you have just made me! Thank you for commenting on Tony. He does have an insight that makes ya go Hmmmm. His whole book it gear like this.

    Okay it has been a few days. What did you decide about your hair and how are the shingles today?

  6. I overdid it with the multiple Christmas festivities (a quality problem) & had to sleep in til noon yesterday. Feeling better today & the roots are longer than ever. Definitely going to bite the bullet (literally, since my scalp still hurts) and dye my hair before New Year’s.

  7. Cathy, you looked your normal beautiful self at the family Christmas gathering. If you didn’t tell people about it I would never have suspected that you were having a medical problem that was painful and kept you from dying your hair. I loved your post and especially your poem. I will be so happy when you have no more pain at all and are totally healed. I wrote a poem about vanity once and part of it said:

    The many flaws I know of,
    That lurk inside of me,
    Do not reflect my visage,
    Just my humanity.

    So you came by this particular human quality naturally. I hate looking in the mirror and I don’t even have a medical problem, just a problem with vanity..

  8. And again. I think I’m finally logged in.

  9. Anonymous

    In between dye jobs, when my grey is getting pretty obvious I use some eyeshadow powder.. just rub it in. works great

    • That’s a great idea! I go to the beauty supply store & get a tube of hair paint. I apply the temporary color with a mascara-like wand to just the roots along my forehead and part. The downside if it makes my hair feel crusty, and the tube is a little pricey.

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