My child, I hope you know I tried. Motherhood is a mind trip, isn’t it? I have had long hair for 13 years. In fact I have been growing it since my 13-year-old was born. I have a picture of my mom and I holding him in our blue striped nursery. My hair was short, and I felt cute. Being a new mom, I was still unsure about my body and did not have the years under my belt to see how fleeting my youth truly was. But looking at the photos all I could see is my wide, angular face and baby weight. The year was 2008 and I started to grow out my hair long and tediously straightened it for years. Yes, it was time to make a change.
When I picked up my child from school today, they told me I look like Velma. You know, from Scobey Doo? It hit a nerve. I know, I shouldn’t care; my kid is young and led with, “well I’m going to have to be perfectly honest.” Ouch. Truth be told I made the conscious decision to go short. Not because I feel pretty but because I believe it is important for my beautiful trans daughter to see that all girls don’t have to have long, blond, perfect hair. It was time to make a change.
When I was told I look like a cartoon, I was instantly taken back to the parking lot outside of my dad’s office. It was 1986 and we were in a blue Subaru pulling into the parking lot off Union Boulevard in Lakewood, Colorado. I was probably my child’s age; as we were parking my dad expressed unhappiness over the shape of his nose, and I let out a bird noise in agreement. Ouch. To clarify, I was an asshole. Clearly, I had much room to judge…
Last night I stumbled across a post from the child of someone close to me. My friend is in her late 60s and her child is pushing 40. Of course, the post was gut-wrenching. The child exalted their growth and self-awareness. They touted their awakening having been oppressed for their entire life. In the very public admonishment of their parents, particularly their mother, they said something that kicked me in the gut. “I was the youngest of 2, although was told my mom miscarried with the child before me. They were only intending to have 2 children, so by “nature”, I was an “accident.” Ouch.
To my friend, may I be half of the mother you are to your children and grands. To my children, may you have the gift of self-awareness and perspective. May you reach adulthood and say, “wow, she screwed up but damn it, she tried and gave it her all.” To my dad, I am so sorry. You are beautiful. You have seen me through my best and my worst. My child, I hope you know I tried. Most importantly, I wouldn’t change you for anything. I love you.