i’m an oak tree, you see. i was planted in charlotte, nc before i was a year old, and my roots go down deep. I grew up here, went to school here(and college), got married here, had babies here, and am raising my family here. Some would say, i have little sense of adventure. i like to call it just being faithful. oh, and allergic to change.
so, when my youngest got out of the van the other day on our way to getting the girl’s summer hair ‘trim'(trim not cut) and declared that she’d like her hair to be cut to her shoulders, i immediately broke out in hives. We’ve talked about it before but the last time she had shoulder length hair…she was two and it had just reached that mile marker on its way to bigger things. she’s turning 9 this summer.
i’m also a long hair girl. a low maintenance hair girl. a hide behind a mound of hair girl. and because i’m so resistant to change faithful, i’ve had the same hair style since i grew my bangs out in jr. high after a traumatic cut to my ears several months before. i’m sure there’s no connection.
I looked down at my daughter’s long beautiful, thick, curly blonde hair as we approached one of the many crossroads that lie between she and i. The one with the sign post that reads “little girl” vs. “young girl”. or maybe it said…”a mini me” vs. “her own person.” i have so much power as a mom, and had a choice as a parent to affirm her decision about what she wanted or to manipulate and bend her desire to match my own. So i said, “of course you can’t cut your hair that short. what are you thinking?! what’s next…a shaved head, maybe a spiked mohawk and body piercings? Sure, honey. if you are ready, it’s your decision.”
she never wavered for a moment. so, i prepared myself for the fall out that was sure to come. what other option is there when one cuts off 4 1/2 in of their hair in one sitting? When one chooses to have their own ideas that are different than what their mom would prefer. When one chooses to begin standing alone instead of peeking out from behind the legs of an adult. I was stunned as i watched all of those things drift slowly to the floor.
and what was lacking in this moment…but mood music of course. So, out of the speaker above my head comes one of the most moving songs i know. It was, “I’ll stand by you” by the Pretenders. I’m sitting there trying to be rational with every fiber of my being when down rains “Awwwww, why look so sad. The tears are in your eyes, c’mon on and come to me now. Don’t be ashamed to cry, let me see you through…cause i’ve seen the dark side too….”
and then to top it off, my oldest looks up from her book and says, “oh man. her hair is so short.” Will you spare me your commentary please???!!! can’t you see that she’s getting ready to pack her bags and move out of the house??!!! The stylist turned her around in the chair to finish up which shielded her from my sight. ironic. i closed my eyes and saw her little again. before i was ready to end my reverie, she bounded up to me with the biggest smile on her face. “I LOVE it!”, she said. “Do you like it, mom?”
crossroads. building her up or tearing her down. affirmation or degradation. her desires or my will.
“oh emma, It is SO cute!!! You look just like you… only more grown up. I love it.” i said.
i’m an oak tree, you see………..