"Watch where you're goin' stoner!", the man hissed threateningly at my 14-year old son as they passed each other in the movie theater. I found myself counting to ten and taking a deep breath. I was working hard to keep my natural protective paternal instincts at bay. I guess kids with scraggly long hair touch a serious nerve with this guy. Sheesh, lighten up.
OK, so his hair was getting pretty hideous. Although, being follicly challenged for many years now, I have to admit that I held a slight admiration for my son's hirsute stature. "Enjoy it while it lasts," I'd catch myself thinking.
But over the years, these kinds of belligerent encounters and off-base assumptions about our long-haired maverick son were really starting to take their toll on Mom in particular. Underneath that Alice Cooper (or was it Tiny Tim?) mop of hair lurked an attractive, engaging young man. "Why not let him out for the world to see?" his Mom kept wondering aloud.
Nope. He wouldn't have any of it. "Why should I care what other people think?" "People shouldn't judge me by the way I look." Um...good points — you little Smart Aleck! Nonetheless, it's really hard to watch as parents on a lot of different levels.
So that's when I did it. I confess. I broke all the parenting and fiscal responsibility rules in the book.
I paid my son 100 bucks to cut his hair for Mother's Day. A shameless, straight up bribe. Totally the wrong way to use money with your children. Totally the wrong message.
And, you know what? It was the best darn $100 I ever spent. Just look at that smile on Mom's face (those are tears of joy), and tell me that wasn't worth every penny.
Best Mother's Day ever!
And even better: he never wore his hair long again after that (3 years and counting).
Either way, Happy Mother's Day!