What Was Her Mother Thinking?


Growing up my sisters and I were not allowed to change our hairstyle.  My mom (like all good hippie moms) insisted our hair be long, straight, and parted down the middle.  In the third grade, I envied the girl next door who got a biannual perm. In middle school, I envied my best friend who found her bangs full of endless possibilities.  In High School, I envied the homecoming queen who had perfect layers like the roommates on Friends.  I envied, but never rebelled.

To this day, I still feel guilty every time I get a haircut . . . even when it is just an inch off the bottom.

My sister, on the other hand,  took full advantage of being an adult.  When she left home for College, he first act of freedom was to get a pixie cut and dye it black.  She looked like Betty Boop, and I was jealous. I vowed then that my children would possess full artistic license in determining their style.

Today, my daughter asked to go platinum.

Despite my black hair, which according to 9th grade genetics should dominate, my daughter’s hair is a dark ash non-color like my husbands. Having successfully turned his hair pink a couple of weeks ago,  I picked up a box of dye at the grocery store.

Six hours, three boxes, and two attempts later: my daughter also appears genetically connected to my sister’s calico cat.

To no avail, I tried covering my handiwork with braids and bobby pins.  Tomorrow I will send her to school to face her peers with pumpkin toned racing stripes.  And all the other mothers will know that I am a terrible parent.

That’s the problem with parenting.  We try so hard to get it right, and screw it up anyways.  At times we hold on too tight.  We force the images we’ve created for our children upon them not realizing they’d rather have highlights and a side part.  At times we let go too soon.  We give our children freedoms and responsibilities they are not ready to navigate and they endure consequences despite our scramble to pad the fall. 

 The Bible teaches that children are a gift from the Lord, but ironically gives very little instruction on how to raise them.  It just says:  lead them, but don’t provoke them.  Basically God tells us to hold on, but not too tight. 

I wish the directions were more thorough, but maybe that’s the point.  God wants us to parent as He does.  To know our children completely; to meet THEIR needs and not our own.  To support them without contempt; to accept their dreams as though they were our own.  To love them without condition; to walk with them through every misstep because they are our own. 

Even when we fail  our children, we are still to hold tight while letting go.  It is in our failures that we can hold tight to God, and release our children into His hand. 

Yes, I wish God gave more directions for parenting, but I find solace knowing that He is a good Father and I can call on Him to help.

And trust me . . . it’s always better to call a professional.  Just ask my daughter.

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