I talk to my mom 3-4 times a week. That’s as much for me as for her.
But I get my hair done for her.
It’s not that she has high expectations of me in the fashion and style realm of life. And she is not high maintenance herself. So it may seem odd that a 45 year old woman who lives half-way across the country from her mother is still concerned with what her mom thinks of her hair. She would say I am crazy.
Two years ago, during one my mother’s visits, I realized that if I have not had my hair done in the days prior to seeing her, she spends her trip to Denver trying to convince me to leave the boys with her and get it done. Take a break. Get a pedicure. The problem is, when she is here, I want to spend the time with her. So I typically do not take her up on her offer.
On visits when I have coincidentally timed my hair appointment just before her arrival, she immediately compliments me on how great my hair my looks. And that is that.
It became clear – although I could be totally wrong, because I have not confirmed my theory with her – that the state of my hair is the only external symbol to tell her how my life is going. If my hair is a wreck, she interprets that to mean I am failing to take care of myself, stressed out and not in control of the many things on my plate. Rather, the plate is in control of me. If my hair looks good, it tells her that I am happy and finding time for myself.
What a simple way to show her I am okay – which is all that matters to her. Get my hair done.
I am going to spend two weeks with my mom starting this Sunday. So of course, I went to the salon yesterday. My hair looks fantastic, especially compared to how it looked when I dashed in just as a summer hail storm hit, six months after my last appointment – bleached out by the pool, straggly split ends and bright white hairs sticking straight up from the top. And my stylist of nine years knows now what brings me in…
“You’re going to see your mom!”
There was a time when knowing my mother was worrying about me was like a security blanket. Someone was looking out for me. Sometimes I wonder if subconsciously I told her things just to keep her up at night. Now, I understand that I am most successful when she can see at first glance that I am happy. And it makes her feel successful too – she did right by me, she was a great mom who brought up a healthy, happy adult.
After this two weeks in August, I will see her again for Thanksgiving. I’ve already booked my next hair appointment for just two weeks before…
For my mom.