It's Only Hair

When I became the mother of a black boy, I knew I had a lot to learn. A few weeks after Mikias came home, I knew he needed a haircut but I wasn't sure where to go or what to ask for. I went into Pro Cuts and asked for a basic haircut for my boy. Although the hairdresser assured me that his hair looked great after she cut it, I was pretty sure that he looked ridiculous.

I knew I was right when I walked into the house with him and Maddy burst into the theme song for "The Fresh Prince of Bel Air" She was right....he looked like a mini Will Smith from the 1990's.

I am now pretty conscientious about my boys hair. I know that I am a white woman raising black sons and I don't want to make them look stupid.

A few weeks after the 'Fresh Prince' episode, I was checking out at Target and the woman on the register was black. She looked at Mikias and then at me. "Is he yours?" I was afraid of what she would say next but I said "yes". "You know you can't wash his hair everyday, right?" Actually, I had no idea. She proceeded to give me a quick and kind lesson about black hair. I was grateful and have taken her advice ever since. I now buy the right shampoo for them, own clippers and cut their hair myself.

A couple of weekends ago, Kurt and I were away without the kids. The boys spent some of that time with their cousins. Our nephew, Cabot, is 15 and the coolest kid the boys know. Naturally, when Cabot offered to give Jemberu a new haircut he jumped at the chance.

I actually had been purposely letting Jem's hair get longer for the first day of kindergarten. I think Jem is beautiful no matter how long his hair but I really love his curls. The 'patchwork' was not what I had in mind for those first day of school pictures! After enjoying his kooky hair cut, Cabot kindly shaved the rest of his hair off.

Jem couldn't stop talking about Cabot cutting his hair. It was clearly a bonding moment between cousins. I thought about this and realized that bonding ranks much higher than first day of school curls.