I wear my mom bangs like a badge of motherhood.
Each time I had a new baby, my hair fell out in clumps. It was horror movie frightening to wake up and find my pillow covered in hair. I'd watch it pile up on the shower floor and clog the drain; I'd find thick tangles of it on my hairbrush, hair filling my hands as I ran my fingers through it.
I was convinced there was something terribly wrong. But Dr. Google quickly cleared that up: postpartum hair loss is apparently a normal part of the cycle of life. Hormones keep your hair from falling out during pregnancy (my hair was just about the only part of me that got more glamorous when I was pregnant), but then you make up for it after birth — hence the freakish hair loss that ensued.
For me, the hair loss ended around six months postpartum, at which point my hair started to grow back in strange configurations. Newly sprung tufts of hair lined my forehead. I haven't had bangs since I was seven years old, but I got them after giving birth.
"Mom bangs" might be why so many mothers cut their hair short after having babies (that, and the fact that babies love to pull hair). When I had babies, I was always too exhausted to do anything with my hair besides a trim here and there.
Beauty goals were pretty non-existent. I let my hair stay longish, completely un-styled, usually pulled back in a ponytail.
Like my stretch marks and doughy belly, my "mom bangs" were a badge of motherhood. When I see pictures of myself from those early years, I smile fondly at my messy ponytail, with that fuzz of new hair coming through. In a way, it mirrored the growth of my babies' hair. And it symbolized the way I, too, grew into motherhood.
But all of that was long ago, it seems. My younger child will be three in less than a month, my older child will turn nine a few months later, and both of their baby years are feeling more and more distant lately.
This afternoon, as I putting my almost-three-year-old down for his nap, I was flooded with those familiar feelings of time moving just a little too fast. I was thinking about the fact that he was turning three so soon, and trying to soak up all the little things about him: the wispy baby curls on the back of his head, the way his finger was twirled around my hair as he fell asleep.
After he was asleep, I went to a mirror to fix my ponytail (I guess I'm not quite done with the ponytail stage of motherhood), and I noticed that the strand of hair he had been playing with was one of those "Mom bangs" — now grown out and wispy, almost touching my chin.
The light was just right for me to see how many more gray hairs I had now, and how my laugh lines are starting to sag a bit, the bags under my eyes getting darker.
Soon, my postpartum hair will be all grown out, and there will be no trace of the loss and regrowth that happened when my babies were little. Soon, more than just a few strands will become gray.
But I do believe I have a few more years that my children will want bury their face in my hair and tell me they like how it smells. I'm sure I have a few years for them to absentmindedly play with it while curled up beside me, sticky fingers and all.
But even that has a time-stamp on it. Even that will fall through my fingers like all those strands of hair did when they were babies.
I know I should probably get a nice haircut soon, maybe even chop it all off to even it out. But I can't bring myself to cut my "Mom bangs." I'll keep them until they blend in with everything else. I'll hold on just a little bit longer.