Anyone who knows me knows that I am neither a quiet nor a demure woman. My voice has been known to carry across a room and I have an extremely loud laugh that ranks somewhere between Goofy and a cackling witch. I try to exist boldly with no apologies for taking up my share of space in a room.
I try to live my life how I want my daughters to live their lives.
We are just now entering the preteen stage of parenting in our home. Our oldest daughter is no longer our precious, little princess. She is becoming a “real-life” human with thoughts, opinions, and a personality all her own. To put it frankly (as much as these words feel like a punch to the gut), she is deciding what her personal brand of womanhood will be. So, I should have seen it coming when she cornered me alone one afternoon and uttered a phrase that had me blinking so quickly that I thought my eyelashes might stir up hurricane-force winds in my kitchen.
“Mama, I was thinking about it and I want to shave the side of my head.”
Now I will stop here and say: I think that parenting is all about choices. Now and again, I know in my heart which choice is the irrefutably correct one to make. So I swallowed every single question that threatened to spew uncontrollably from my mouth and simply asked her how she had come to this decision. Because the thing is, I wasn’t upset or even bewildered. I expected this to happen. I expected her to follow in her brazen, audacious mama’s footsteps and make quite a few outrageous decisions in her teen years.
This was exactly what I had always wanted.
My quirky, assertive girl was spitting in the face of conformity and choosing to fly her freak flag high. She told me that shaving the side of her head (a la Mad Max) was something she had been wanting to do for a while and she finally got to the point where she didn’t care what her peers or classmates had to say about it. Her style was hers alone and that was that. So what could I do, but applaud my bizarre daughter and make her an appointment at our stylist?
I watched her face light up in the salon mirror as she saw the long pieces of blonde hair fall to the ground and I knew I made the right decision. I am setting the precedent for our future relationship. I’m sure that this spunky, off-the-wall little girl is going to make some decisions that terrify me. I’m positive that there will be days when she makes me shake my head and pour a large glass of wine. It can be the most difficult thing in the world to abandon your idea of who your children should be. But if you can surrender your kids’ lives to them, the pay-off can be fantastic.