Over 15 years ago, I gave up walking the aisle of Walmart trying to decide what color my hair should be. I take a glance back at the stunning new hair colors every once in a while, but it takes me only a second to get back to realizing how freeing gray hair can be.

Gray hair seemed to immediately put me into a new category with strangers and my grandchildren. I now had “gray hair lady” in the description of me. It was a change for some of the grandchildren when I made the transition into the organic me.

Emma, however, who was 8, never knew a grandmother any other way, and since I am her only grandmother, she does not have any comparisons to make. I realize that I am her only image of a grandmother. What a responsibility.

Grandmothers are not the same as my grandmother was. Recently, while playing tennis, a cellphone rang, and the birth of a grandson was announced. Noni jumped up and down with her racket as she asked particulars. You know, important things we need to know — weight, who he looks like, and send a picture. Then we were able to finish the game with a fresh new grandmother. Grandmothers are different these days.

I noticed a difference in how I was frisked at the jail as I went in to teach. This gray-haired lady looked harmless but beware; she has the sword of the Lord with her.

I had to get used to the idea of my gray; at first, I felt as I stepped out of the shower that I had forgotten to rinse the soap out of my hair. My hair no longer blended with the dark sweaters I wore but looked like I had been holding a white cat. 

There is no turning back; I can never come back with my once black youthful hair.

The dictionary defines gray with words like drab, cloudy, dingy or hoary. 

I did not like any of these words, so I continued to read: mouse-colored, dapple, brindle, or dove gray. Dove gray sounded more spiritual.

I prefer graceful gray, which has meanings like elegant, lovely or tasteful. 

Gray is glorious, gray is free, gray is not old, but wisdom is emerging.

I do not regret giving up the bottle.

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