The bald men in her life

photo of Leta and Grandpa Mike by Heather B. Armstrong for

Last week Leta told me about a nightmare she had where she was walking past a mirror when she noticed that all of her hair was gone. She was terrified, so she quickly covered her eyes. And then when she removed her hands her hair had all grown back. Just like that. Rogaine, Leta just wrote your next commercial. You’re welcome.

I told her that I used to have that nightmare all the time in high school, but my nightmare stemmed from the fact that my long hair was a very integral, working part of my identity. Heather Hamilton? Oh, she’s that girl with the hair, right?

Yes, I was The Hair.

In the nightmare a stylist would slip and cut off every inch of that wild mane. The panic that ensued would wake me up in tears. Who would I be without that hair? (I’d have been ten pounds lighter, THAT’S WHO.)

We talk about her dreams a lot, and I was trying to make her understand that sometimes our dreams reflect the worries we experience when we’re awake. So I asked her if she knew anyone who was bald. She got a worried look on her face and then asked me not to be mad at her.

“I want to understand what you’re feeling,” I said. “I’m not going to be mad at you at all.”

She slowly started to explain. “The only bald people I know are your brother and Grandpa Mike. That’s it.”

“Okay,” I said trying not to laugh. “That makes sense.”

“Does this mean I’m afraid of them?”

“Are you afraid of them?” I asked.

“I don’t think so,” she answered. “But I don’t want my head to look like their heads!”

I told her she didn’t need to worry about that one bit. And then I wanted to thank her for the story I would get to tell at Thanksgiving dinner.