One of my girls had shoulder length hair. It was cute on her. Let's face it - any hair cut would have been cute on her, as she's, you know, pretty cute. She asked me, at the end of the school year, if I'd let her cut her hair really short.
I don't care. To me, hair is hair is hair. It's your head, it's your hair. If the school you attend has a dress code, I expect you to abide by it. If you are a boy and you want to grow it long, it's fine by me as long as it's clean. Both of my boys prefer short, almost shaved heads - but that's their preference. My girls have had long hair, short hair, in between - the only thing I don't especially care for is bangs, but as long as they are happy, and it's neat, I don't care.
So on Saturday we found a few spare minutes and we drove up to the hair cut place for what I thought would be a quick cut. Cut off six inches, shorter in the back, stacked in the back and a slight angle to the chin. Off center part. All the rest one length. 1 hour, 10 minutes later, we were done. it was really cute and she was delighted.
And that's all that matters. Right? In my mind.
And then we went to church and an older woman, one who takes a special interest in my kids, saw her. You would have thought that she had shaved her head bald and painted her scalp fluorescent green with pink stripes.
"Oh, your hair. Your beautiful, beautiful hair. Why did you have to cut it? At least it will grow back. You WILL grow it back, right? Right? Women should have long, beautiful hair!" said the woman - who, incidentally, has SHORT hair herself. And she went on and on until my girl returned to our seats.
And my girl was puzzled. "Why would she say that? She makes me feel bad about my hair!"
And my girl teared up.
What I want for my kids is self assurance. The ability to like themselves, to feel good about themselves, to take pride in what they look like and to have the confidence to listen only to that inner voice and not to the millions of voices out there - those on the internet, at church, at school, in the media.
I told my girl to ignore her. I asked if SHE liked her own hair, and she looked at me with furled brow. "Of course I do!" she said as she tossed her head. "I picked it this way!"
Then that's all that matters. After all, I told her, you only have to please yourself. Not one other person. For pleasing yourself, I didn't tell her, is often the most difficult.