Last Thursday, after three weeks of watching Keenan look at his hair in the mirror all the way to school and complain NON STOP about how it sucked, I took him to get it cut. I scheduled an appointment with my hairdresser.
Knowing Keenan the way I do, I had a long conversation with him on the drive over.
“Remember this year when school started and I took you shopping. I wanted you to try on the jeans because, you know, I didn’t want to waste my money?”
“I know mom. I know,” he interrupted with an eye roll.
“NO,” I said. “You don’t know. Also you are stuck in the car with me so I am going to finish what I was saying.” At which point, he rolled his eyes again and I became white noise, but that didn’t stop me.
“Remember you didn’t want to try them on because all the girls that worked in the store were getting you all flustered? So you got all clammed up and we just bought them and then we got home and you took all the tags off of them and then hated them and we couldn’t take them back, so you had one pair of jeans all year and I wasted my money?”
Silence. I looked over and he was staring out the window. I cleared my throat and he gave an obligatory, “Yeah.”
“Well. You didn’t learn from that lesson. I know this because this year, I have also bought you not one, but two pairs of cleats and you are still wearing the old ones that are too small. Am I right here?”
Silence. I looked over and saw that he had his headset in. “Are you listening to your ipod?” I asked in horror.
“No mom. I just have the ear pieces in so that as soon as this is over, I can turn it on. I know, I know about the cleats. I’m sorry. The first ones were FOOTBALL cleats. I play Lacrosse.”
“YOU were the one that picked them out,” I all but yelled.
Silence. I strained my ears to make sure there was no music coming from his headset.
“How about the other cleats? They are the exact same ones as you own, just one size bigger. WHY AREN’T YOU WEARING THOSE?” I asked incredulous.
He looked at me, squinted his eyes in a way that said, are you for real here, and responded, “They aren’t broken in yet.”
I put my hand to my forehead, rubbed the wrinkles and took a deep breathe. Get back on track I told myself.
“The point of this whole conversation, and I will make it quick,” I said at which point he gave me a sideways glance and then again rolled his eyes again.
I continued, “The point is, you need to start paying attention. You are in charge of your needs. If you don’t want black skinny jeans, DON”T BUY THEM. If you don’t want football cleats, buy lacrosse cleats. When you sit down in her chair today, tell her exactly what you want. Tell her what you don’t like about your hair and what you want to see happen. Like, I hate how this part stands up and I want to keep this part long. Understand?”
I looked over and he was actually looking at me. His face focused. OMG. He was getting it. He was really REALLY getting it.
“Ok mom. I will. Is that all?” He asked.
“Yes. You can do this. I know you can,” I said with a smile and a fist pump.
He smiled at me as he pushed the play button on his iPod.
Minutes later we pulled up. He walked in and sat down in the chair. Colton tugged at my arm and said he had to go to the bathroom. I started to walk away as I heard her ask him, “Now what would you like to do today?”
I stopped in my tracks, turned around, gave him an encouraging nod and a smile and said, “Remember. Tell her exactly what you want.”
I came back ten minutes later, because guess who had to go number two in public as usual, and the haircut was nearly finished. Keenan was silent and had an odd look on his face.
She finished the haircut, we walked out to the car without speaking a word. I put on my chipper mom voice and said, “Your hair looks great. Are you happy with it?” Please say yes, please say yes.
“It looks like crap,” he responded.
My head dropped back against the seat. “What did you tell her to do,” I asked.
“I didn’t. Isn’t she supposed to know what to do?” He asked.
I started gently beating my head against the back of my seat. No. No. No. I said silently in my head over and over and over.
“Did you not hear a word I said earlier?” I asked, still staring at the ceiling, with a calmness that I did not feel.
“Yes. But how was I supposed to know what I wanted?” He asked.