She has long pink hair and a ring in her nose. She's only been hairdressing a few years—the money is awful. But she's got a way with folks, and a healthy sense of humor.
“Turn your head to the left,” she'll say. “That's good. Now cough for me.”
There's a photograph tacked to her mirror. In the picture: a heap of kids seated on the steps of an old home, grinning. There are so many in the photo, the picture is busting at the seams.
“That's my family,” she says, pointing. “We're a hot mess.”
As it happens, only one of the children in the picture is her own—another one came from her husband. The remaining five are adopted.
I ask why she adopted five.
“Fosters,” she says. “If you only knew how many kids need homes, breaks your heart.” She taps the photo. “See him? His daddy used to beat him with a mop stick before we got him.”
The tallest child's mother overdosed in a public park—they found him sleeping in a
twisty-slide. The two black sisters: rescued from a crack house. The little fella with fat cheeks: he has cystic fibrosis and uses crutches.
She didn't mean to adopt them. It just happened.
“Most days,” she says. “All I'm doing is running from point A to point B. I want'em to play sports, have friends, but it keeps me busy.”
It's hard. Her husband works for the utility company, she cuts hair while the kids are at school. Afterward, she rushes home to make supper and ensure nobody sets the sofa on fire. They're poor as red clay dirt, but they get by.
“Can't remember what it's like to have money,” she tells me. “All we do is work. And we just found out I'm pregnant again.” She laughs. “I'm three months along.”
When she finishes trimming my hair, she spins me around…