Monday, August 25, 2014

Role Model

Jeannie plays Candy Crush.

Dad drinks too much.

Mom works her way through every puzzle in Games magazine.

Joey’s looking for his dream girl online. Too short, swipe left. Weird nose, swipe left.

Our hamster, Peanut, runs. At least Peanut’s getting exercise.

Monday, August 18, 2014

I love you(r hair)

In the town where my husband grew up and his parents still live, everyone has straight hair. No, that's not true. Everyone who's anyone has straight hair. If you have curly or frizzy or unruly hair, you're either late for your hair appointment, or you're just not that important.

The first few times my mother-in-law suggested I go with her to get my hair blown out, I declined. It just seemed like a strange thing to do, and I didn't want her taking responsibility for my grooming. When she kept asking (prodding, nagging, insisting) over the years, my husband convinced me to go along with it. "It makes her happy to do something for you," he said. So I would get in the car with my mother-in-law and drive to the beauty parlor. I'd let her hairdresser trim and straighten my hair, and she would pay the bill, as though I were her teenage daughter. I would say thank you, and then I'd spend the rest of the weekend fitting in without any curly locks to reveal my ultimate unworthiness.

A few years ago, I found a hairdresser at home who I really like. I started having her color my hair regularly, and I happened to start wearing it straight more too. My mother-in-law stopped inviting me to the salon during our visits. She'd check out my head, nod approvingly, and leave on her own for her biweekly coiffing.

I could laugh it off if it had stopped there. If "hair checks" were just about making sure I met her standard of beauty, I could let it go. Then my son started getting hair checks.

My son -- my wonderful, unique, brilliant, and creative son -- has severe ADHD. He's depressed. He has low self-esteem. He also has long, wild hair that he loves. And my mother-in-law started giving him hair checks. She took to dragging him for a haircut every time she saw him. She'd visit us at our home and take him for a haircut. We'd visit her at her home, and she'd take him for a haircut. Finally, during our visit this weekend, we'd had enough. We told her no haircut. He likes his hair. We like his hair. And we like him. No haircut.

We may as well have said he's not allowed to eat. We may as well have dropped him off at the play area in the mall and picked him up eight hours later. My sister-in-law was so disgusted with us, she stormed out. My mother-in-law said we're ruining his self-esteem by not encouraging proper grooming. From what I hear, there was a big family confrontation about us when we were already in the car, well on our way home.

First thing this morning, we had an appointment with our son's therapist. She said what she always says to him when we walk in: "I love your hair."