The tale of the traveling red

When I was a child, I had reddish-brown hair. Auburn was the typical term used to describe it. I hated it back then.

It lightened in the summer to a golden-red color, but all I could see was that I had gotten the typical fair skin of a ginger — pale, freckled, unable-to-tan-into-a-lovely-bronze-color skin — that burned into a bright and painful sunburn. I hated that as well back then.

My mother and my two brothers all had red hair in varying shades. I do remember my mom complaining a little about “losing the red” in her hair as we got older. I thought she must be kidding; after all, losing ginger-status isn’t a terrible thing (especially from the vantage point of a middle-school girl).

Now I get it.

I finally reached a point where I was comfortable with my redhead status. Even liked it because it was unusual and different. I watched others try to achieve the same effect from boxed hair dye to no avail. I was practically tossing my head around in glee.

And then it slowly drained away from me.

With each subsequent pregnancy, I dropped a little bit of red from my hair. It was particularly noticeable after the twins were born. I went to get my hair cut, and afterwards, the red strands were gone. Just like my mom’s.

My theory is this: there’s only so much hereditary red in my genetic line. Much like my mother before me, I passed down to each child a little extra ginger, and in doing so, I lost a little bit of mine.

I can’t believe how much I miss it. Where’s that box of hair dye?

Do you find this is true for you too — that the very thing that you hated as a child you love (and miss) as an adult? Do share.

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