I can remember it like it was yesterday. I had a black felted baller hat with a bow, just like Debbie Gibson. I wore it to a concert and felt, so, so cool. Almost as cool as my older sisters who were driving around town listening to Bon Jovi in their Naf-Naf outfits that they bought with their first paychecks working retail at the mall.
Even at my coolest, it was all still so awkward. My body lanky, long, waiting to grow into my forever legs and arms. I was at least six inches taller than most of the boys in my class, which helped as I was still too petrified to even think about a boy liking me. There was so much to navigate, so much to try on to discover who I was. I don't think I realized how important all of it was, especially that hat.
So here I am with my own boy, feeling right back at the start of all things tween. It started with his hair. He told me over a year ago that he was growing out his hair. We did this when he was four so I didn't think too much about it. I forgot I trimmed it then, easing it all into this beautiful shoulder length little boy beauty. This go around there would be no trimming.
No trimming and a LOT more shag. To say this drove me crazy would be an understatement, at one point I even resorted to bribery which still didn't work.
"Josiah, I will give you $20 if you let me take you to the salon to get it trimmed." I begged.
It's pretty horrifying on my part, I know. Everywhere we went he looked a little messier, with that thick mane in his face. Around the same time, it was as if we hit the sweaty, smelly boy stage too. Welcome to the tween years.
"Mom, you gotta let the hair thing go." he said.
"I think he's right. That hair is awesome." Jorge later said in private.
I sighed and knew they were both right. This boy was growing just like the hair, just as thick and crazy, just as awesome. This one small way of trying something different on, even if someone close to you doesn't exactly approve was the perfect way to flex some independence muscles. As he makes his way I learn how to accept, to even embrace knowing there are much more complicated decisions than hair ahead.
While shopping the other day we passed the men's hat section and Josiah wandered over. It was if every hat on the shelf was calling to his head. Not just one but pretty much all 20 looked completely rad with his crazy hair. We were both out of our minds over how cool he looked and I was so proud of all his tween goodness. All I could think of was that Debbie Gibson hat, and the beginning of so much more.
Do you have that one little independence step or decision your kid has made that makes you a little crazy? How have you navigated these new steps and stages? Tell us and all the uptight tween parents everywhere.