Happy National Love your Red Hair Day!

If you glance over at my photo on the side (or scroll to the bottom on your mobile device), you’ll see my photo. And you’ll notice that I have dark brown hair. I am not even close to being a redhead. Yet, I take notice of National Love your Red Hair Day every year, because I am raising a redhead. 

My husband has black hair. I have dark brown hair. Before our daughter was born back in 2009, we were almost positive that she would have dark hair. I also used a genetic eye predictor to determine what her eye color might be. I have brown eyes; my husband’s eyes are hazel. She had a 50 percent chance at brown eyes, a 30 percent chance of green/hazel eyes and a 20 percent change at blue eyes. I imagined my daughter with dark hair and dark eyes. 

When she was born, it was hard to say, but as she grew, it became obvious that she was all about recessive traits. She has red hair and blue/green eyes. We were pleasantly surprised. Her hair was incredibly curly for her first few years. Now she likes it long, so it has a gentle wave because her hair is so very heavy and thick. I am nine years into being her mom and I still look at her at least a couple of times a month and marvel that I have a redheaded child. (My son did inherit dark brown hair and eyes like mine; he did also pick the recessive trait of being left-handed, which neither my husband nor I are.)

This is my little redhead when she was 4. (Photo by Catherine Hatton)

Here’s the thing about having a redheaded child, you get lots of questions about it. It is a topic of conversation almost everywhere we go. When my daughter was a preschooler with bouncy red curls, strangers would always remark about how beautiful her hair was. She would sometimes reply, “I know.” And she did know because she heard it all the time! We had to have a conversation about how to respond to compliments by saying thank you. One time, when my son was maybe a year old, I had taken just him to Target. Someone commented about his appearance and his hair. I was momentarily confused because I was so used to having a redhead response ready. It was that commonplace for us.

Even now it still happens. People look at my husband and me and look at my daughter and ask how we ended up with a redhead. I’ve thought of funny replies like I ate too much spaghetti sauce when I was pregnant, but most of the time I just tell them that she got it from my grandma. My grandma and all of her sisters have or had red hair. Every last one of them! I am so thankful my grandma got to be around and involved in my daughter’s life until she passed away last year. She was so proud to have a grandchild with red hair. My brother’s kids all have dark hair like my son does. My redhead stands out amidst her brother and her cousins. And my grandma loved every minute of it. She was proud to tell everyone she could how my daughter had inherited her red hair.

My daughter and my grandma a couple of years ago.

That’s why I love National Love your Red Hair Day. I love my redhead. I marvel at the beauty of her hair (and its incredible thickness!). I see a piece of my grandma living on through her great-granddaughter, and that blesses my heart now that my grandma has passed away. I have read that only 2 percent of the world’s population has red hair. I have also read that most redheads have brown eyes, so having red hair and light eyes is very rare. My grandma and all of her sisters have/had red hair and blue eyes. They are rare and so is my daughter. 

All I know is that I think they are all special, and I’m so thankful for all of the redheads in my life. So today, if you know a redhead, tell them it’s National Love your Red Hair Day. And if you’re a redhead yourself, enjoy a day that’s all about you. Redheads are certainly special to me!

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