“What’d you do that for?”
“Now the baby won’t recognize you!”
“Why’d you do it, Mom? Why? You looked just fine before.”

Those aren’t exactly the words you long to hear when you get back from the salon. How would my children have felt if I had said those very words to them when they opted to get that short buzz a couple of months ago, or cut bangs or when they traded in their long locks for that daring bob?

I’ve been at their sides on several such occasions and I believe the words I chose were, “I love it!” “It’s a ten!” or, “It suits you!” Whether or not I really thought they looked better with their new do isn’t important. It’s always the right play to smile brightly and help them embrace their new look. While technically it’s not a permanent change, at that moment, to that individual, it feels pretty near permanent and they need validation.

I really didn’t even do anything that drastic with my hair. I had a few inches taken off and added the most subtle of highlights–just a sun kissed honey glow. I hadn’t done anything to my hair at all for a full year. It was high time to do a little sprucing. But you would’ve thought I’d dyed my hair purple and asked the stylist for a mohawk the way my children reacted: befuddled, betrayed even, and brutally honest.

I wonder if baby lambs feel the same way when the mama ewes get back from the shearing process? Do they recognize them? Are they scared at first?

I have to admit, I do understand where my children are coming from. I can distinctly remember 30 years ago coming home from a friend’s house and seeing my mother standing in our driveway, fresh from the salon with a very, very new do and my feeling very, very disconcerted. When I had left that morning, my mother was the spitting image of Ali McGraw from “A Love Story.” Long dark tresses with a middle part–very mod. When I came home, it was shorn and permed, (think Buffy from “Bosom Buddies.”) What can I say, it was the 80’s.

I don’t remember what I said in that moment, but I believe I felt like a baby lamb.

I don’t think my children hate my new coif. It’s just isn’t the same as before. If the same hair were on another lady, it would be fine. But I’m not another lady. I’m mom. Moms need to be consistent. Dependable. Unchanging. It’s comforting what with all the surprises life throws at them.

Which is ironic, because my children are surprising me all the time. They are morphing and changing before my very eyes. But I, on the other hand, take great comfort in watching them grow.

It suits them. Truly.


Read more by Margaret Anderson at www.jamsandpickles.wordpress.com