Is it the worst thing in the world? Is it normal for a 14-year-old to want to shake stuff up? Is it 100 times better than a facial piercing or a tattoo?
No. Yes. Hells to the yes.
Alison was blessed by the genetics genie when it comes to her hair, her long legs, her smile and her metabolism. I like to think she's got the whole package, beauty inside and out but I'm biased. But even the most objective review of her hair begs the superlative. Charlie Brown would have fallen into a stupor to see her naturally curly red-gold locks.
And that, of course, is part of her angst. Everywhere she goes -- from the time the hair sprang in -- strangers have stopped her to inform her that she has the prettiest hair they've ever seen. She couldn't have been 5-years-old when she found extra toys in her McDonald's lunch. "It's the hair, mom," she sighed.
She's not ungrateful or even impolite at the compliments. But she's also kind of over it. When she asked if she could cut 10 inches of it off to give to young cancer victims, we were both 100 percent supportive. We'd even gotten used to the shorter cut. But then she started talking about this streak to her bangs.
Yesterday, she and I had hair appointments. Ali sees Nicole, a beautiful, waif-like stylist whose combat boots weigh more than she does. She's new to Ado, the salon I've used for years. In the handful of times I've seen her, Nicole has been bald, blond, ebony and an asymmetrical blend of shaved and buzzed. Each style emphasized her delicate, beautiful features. "It's hair," she shrugs. "It'll grow back."
My stylist, Julie, is equally beautiful but a veteran, a mom, much younger than me but older than Nicole. It was Julie who created the chemical magic that lets me match my hair -- somewhat -- to Alison's while also covering my gray.
My appointment started at 9 while Ali was due at 10. I didn't even see her when Jeff brought her in and left her in Nicole's able hands. I was surprised to find him still there when I emerged.
"You said she was just getting a cut; I didn't think it would be this long," he said when I interrupted him taking a Cosmopolitan magazine quiz.
I introduced him to Julie, and the subject her green streak idea came up. Jeff informed Julie that while we were trying to forestall it, he thought Ali was talking it over with Nicole. There was a pregnant pause as we each mentally did the math of what could possibly be taking so long. "Uh, Nicole's not really the one you might want helping her with that," Julie said, already turning to go peek in on Ali as I started to ask her to do it so I wouldn't seem to be checking up on them.
When Ali emerged, Nicole was in tow. About 3/4 of the red tresses Ali had woken up with, however, were on the floor.
"Well, I guess I'm glad we talked about it," Jeff said, echoing the phrase he pulls out for me when I've made an executive decision he thought would have been improved by his input.
The silence that ensued must have laid there a while.
"She can't start high school without a great, new cut," Nicole offered. "And it's perfect for Herron."
It's a beautiful cut. Ali is thrilled with it. Jeff's getting used to it. I love it, I really do.
My hesitation isn't with the cut at all. I know that. My issue is that this is the latest, billboard-sized sign that my little one isn't little anymore. She's a lovely young woman highly capable of making her own decisions. Dammit.