Adolescent Boys and Beyond
Okay, back to the canteen story, second on the list were the clothes. Jake carefully chose his clothes and even though his sixteen year old brother told him his clothes were good but NOT sweet, he remained steadfast with the decision of athletic shorts and an underarmor shirt snuggled to his small physique.
Thirdly, the hair. Jake wanted his hair to be combed and styled with enough hairspray to give him a mohawk. Since the mohawk was not the hair style of my choice, I asked why. As he succinctly explained, “it’s a party.” I couldn’t argue! I obediently combed and sprayed until the hair stood to his satisfaction. Actually, until his sister Lydia came home and he opted for a generational change in stylist. Much to my disdain this was not the first time Jake publicly displayed his mohawk. Last spring, Jake was in his school’s talent show and as my busy life dictated, I ran from my school of employment to his elementary school just in time to see his act. I knew that Jake’s performance included a dozen of his classmates dancing to the song, all star. What I didn’t know about, was the hair. Every parent who passed me couldn’t resist commenting on Jake’s new do, especially his teacher. Jake’s classroom teacher has known me and our family since my oldest child started school seventeen years ago. She playfully asked me if I had sent him to school looking like that. I clearly made the point that “his father” drops him off at school. She continued the banter when she told me that he didn’t come to school with the mohawk. She explained that when Jake and his buddies went into the restroom, he came out with the mohawk. Well, that explains why I couldn’t find my bottle of hairspray this morning. I am a mother of seven and Jake is my youngest, so this is not my first rodeo. More than once, my children have used their hair as an expression of art and I know hair is the least of my worries, but I still felt the smugness of some who were thanking God that it wasn’t their son up on stage sporting a new do in front of the whole community. I proudly taped Jake and with the thrill of a program gone well, Jake told me that he had received a lot of accolades about his hair. I said, “I guess that was the point, huh?” Jake responded, “I had to do something. I was in the back row.” Again, I couldn’t argue, his smaller stature required it, right?! My husband Roger came home from work just in time to join me in dropping Jake off at the canteen. As we were pulling out of the school’s driveway, Roger spoke what we both had been thinking, “Are we going to survive another adolescent’s middle school years or could we just send him straight to high school?” After our son John, a junior in high school, announced he had asked one of his sister’s friends to homecoming, we knew nowhere was safe.