It’s back-to-school season and I’m sad. Not because my little babies are leaving the nest, going it alone in the big, wide world of preschool or even elementary school. And not because they are moving on without me, growing up faster than I can handle.
No, mostly I’m sad because I can no longer send my son out of the house looking like this:
All summer long we dispensed with grooming. I don’t think he brushed his hair once the entire time he was off from school. Every day he rolled out of bed, tangled rat’s nest atop his head, and strode into camp exactly as is. His camp, despite what Disney says, was the happiest place on earth (probably because I was paying so God damn much for it), and for all that money I felt hair brushing should have been included.
But the crazy hair on Jack’s head looked cute, at least according to me, and it opened up a whole five minutes of free time in the morning. One less task to do, one less argument to have before 9:00 a.m.
My daughter similarly underwent a brush-free period, but with her long hair, she looked more homeless than free spirit. It wasn’t such a good look for her, and while I did my best to discourage it, my disapproval only makes Kate more resolute. It was just best to give up and deal with convincing the world at large that my child wasn’t actually a vagrant.
Jack had somehow managed to avoid looking homeless until last summer. And although he showered nightly and went to bed with perfectly normal hair, in the morning he always awoke to a matted, fuzzy mess. I don’t know what went on in that room overnight—whether he held wild, 3rd grade raves in there or snuck out to hit the bars for a night of hard drinking—but in the morning the kid always staggered out of his room looking like it’d been a rough night. Fortunately, his new look wasn’t anything that couldn’t be fixed with a quick visit to the barber before school started.
Kate’s homeless stage, sadly, lasted a good deal longer. Until about now. But it all changed one miraculous day at Target.
We were shopping for some back-to-school supplies when Kate wandered down the health and beauty aisle and asked to buy a brush. It’s not like she didn’t have a brush. She just wanted a new-fangled, ergonomically designed brush in turquoise. While I generally don’t like buying stuff we don’t need, it was only a few bucks, and that day I was feeling generous. Five bucks later, Kate’s homeless days were behind her. Had I had known a cheap Target hairbrush would’ve put an end to this whole homeless-chic look, I would’ve bought it years ago.
So while my kids’ hair looks decent (for now), and the promise of six solid, kid-free hours should bring me nothing but unadulterated joy, school days mean I have to make sure they look presentable at all times and abide by societal norms for grooming.
And who needs that?
Image credit: istock.com/bowie15