Hiding In Plain Sight
She knew something was off but she couldn’t quite put her finger on it. Then their dog wouldn’t stop barking. But when she asked about it, he brushed it off.
He waited until she was gone to grab the scissors. He needed to get them off quickly before she came home and caught him in the act. Little did she know what was hiding in plain sight.
14-year-old Jordan Reynolds loved his hair. For nine whole years, he had been proudly sporting his dreadlocks hairstyle. It simply became a part of who he was.
As the middle child to mom, Malanie, and dad, Max - who is also known as Youtuber, Maxbeatbox, Jordan was always encouraged to be creative and to express himself however he liked but soon, this would lead to problems.
And it wasn’t just Jordan who received this encouragement. Both his older brother and younger sister were encouraged to pursue their own individual expression.
Jordan’s dad was a professional musician who produced tracks for movies, TV, and commercials. He loved to see his kids express themselves and felt proud of Jordan’s preference for a cultural hairstyle.
Dreadlocks were recorded as being worn as far back as the bronze age. Murals depicting the Minoans (bronze age people) show them wearing their hair in long, ropelike braids, consistent with the styling of dreads.
Mummified remains of ancient Egyptians were also found wearing dreadlock-styled hairpieces and the Pre-Columbian Aztec era described priests and religious men as wearing dreadlocks. So clearly, Jordan’s hairstyle had a deep cultural meaning, but that’s not all it had...
When Jordan’s dog first started barking at him, he just thought he wanted to play or go outside for a walk. But when he continued to bark at him and nobody else, his mom began to wonder why.
Henry had been part of the family for years after he was adopted from the shelter as a puppy. He was a loyal companion and loved Jordan but things started to change.
Henry wasn’t a very vocal dog so when he started to bark at Jordan, it was very unusual. But from there, things just got stranger and stranger.
Although many people believe dreadlocks to be dirty and smelly, that’s often not the case. In fact, even though they are a low-maintenance hairstyle, they still require a certain amount of care and attention to maintain.
From Bad To Worse
It was when Jordan began to fear that Henry didn’t like him that he started to put more effort into spending time with him. He’d approach him with food and treats, all in the hopes that he’d stop barking at him but it was useless.
Just as Jordan began to get frustrated, his mom noticed something bizarre. She realized that Henry seemed to be barking not at Jordan, but at his hair.
A Dog’s Nose
Henry would get close enough to sniff Jordan’s hair and bark, even when Jordan had his back to him. What on earth was going on?
Melanie knew a dog’s sense of smell was powerful and she heard the stories about dogs being able to sniff out problems that went unnoticed. Alarmed, she asked Jordan if his hair was bothering him.
Jordan looked at her in surprise and said no. He quickly brushed off the topic and started talking about something else.
Melanie shrugged, wondering if she was overthinking everything. After all, if her son wasn’t complaining then nothing could be wrong, right? But little did she know, Jordan was keeping secrets.
It was on Jordan’s mind for a while now that he wanted a change. As a teenager, it’s no surprise that he wanted to experiment with different styles. But he had no idea his mom knew what he was up to.
Jordan wanted to surprise her but he didn’t expect his dog, Henry to react this way. He had to act fast.
When his mom was out grocery shopping, Jordan quickly asked his dad to cut his hair but carefully. He asked him to chop off the very top of them and to be careful not to disturb the center of them.
Confused, his dad did as he was asked. When his mom returned, Jordan showed her exactly what he had been hiding in his hair.
Jordan waited for his mom to return and jumped out to surprise her. She coiled back in shock before realizing that the boy in front of her was her son. Her jaw dropped at the sight of his shaved head.
Tears began to fall as she wept for her son’s dreadlocks that she had gotten used to since he was 5 years old. But there was more...
Jordan brought her over to the dreads that sat on the table. He asked her to look inside. She cut the dreads and watched as a collage of small photos appeared. They showed Jordan from when he was 5 until now.
Melanie burst out in tears at how much her little boy had grown up. She loved his dreadlocks and she was super upset to see them go but she cherished these photos that Jordan prepared for her. And the dog?
The reason why Henry was barking at Jordan’s hair is still a mystery. Perhaps he could smell the rolled-up photos and knew they weren’t supposed to be there.
Or maybe he did really just want extra love and attention from Jordan. Either way, they’re all living peacefully together now. Even if Melanie is grieving her son’s dreads!
Jordan’s dad filmed the family's reaction to his son’s departure from his 5-year-old hairstyle and posted it online. His wife’s tearful reaction scored thousands of likes and comments with many applauding their parental style of allowing their kids to express themselves.
However, what would happen if the reason for cutting off years of identity came about from something far more heartbreaking? This is the case with our next family.
Loud But Full Of Love
Rayshawn Mims loved how chaotic his house was, mostly because it came from his five amazing children.
The heart-warming giggles usually outweighed the arguments and tantrums. He was also grateful they had managed to keep their jobs through the pandemic. Life seemed to be tilting in their favor, that is, until he noticed something with one of their kids.
7-year-old Ahkeem loved to play sports or just run around in general. So, bumps and scraps were normal.
However, when the boy started complaining of knee pain, and it didn’t go away like every other time, Rayshawn started to worry.
Rush To The Hospital
He had expected the trip to the emergency room would end up with a tenser bandage or even a cast.
But when the doctor came in looking far more serious than before, his heart started to pound with fear. The diagnosis nearly made him pass out.
Little Ahkeem didn’t have knee pain. He had cancer.
But to make things worse, it was a rare from called Osteosarcoma. From there it was a downward spiral of devastation that would affect every facet of the family’s lives.
First, Rayshawn knew he was lucky to be able to work from home, but his wife had to take a leave of absence.
This wasn’t only to take care of their sick little boy, but her public contact would risk his compromised immune system. This meant they were down one income. The next problem was even harder.
Sending The Kids Away
He felt his heart break as he watched his 4 other kids leave with their duffle bags and suitcases to live with other family members during Akheem’s treatment.
Rayshawn held his wife as they cried on the sofa, trying to keep their tears as silent as possible so they didn’t wake their boy. Finally, came the hard day of shaving the little guy’s head before he had to deal with the trauma of it falling out.
Rayshawn felt like he would fall into a million bawling pieces as he watched his little boy look at the mirror with a mixture of medical exhaustion and sadness.
But he had to be strong for his boy. He had to show him he wasn’t going through this alone. So, on September 16th, Rayshawn set up his phone and started a live stream of his Facebook page.
Setting Up The Scene
“You know why we had to cut your hair?” he asked his son as he sat in front of him in a barber’s smock. “It’s because of the medicine to make you feel better. But it will grow back after, yeah?”
Ahkeem nodded his head, his tiny body already showing the tell-tale signs of chemotherapy fatigue. But instead of taking off the layer of already-short hair, Rayshawn turned the clippers to his long dreadlocks.
Always There For You
“Anything you go through, I’ll go through it with you,” he said.
One by one the impressively long dreads fell to the floor until Rayshawn was just as bald as his boy. His little guy was too tired and cloudy in the head to know what was going on, but after a few hours, it finally clicked.
One Smile, Worth It All
Rayshawn finally saw a tiny smile form. It was the first in weeks.
He pulled his strong, little man into his arms and they snapped a picture together. Ahkeem ran his hands over his dad’s head and giggled. Yes, dreadlocks could be someone’s identity, but when it came to family, it was just hair.