I have made a promise to my oldest daughter that if she gets mentioned in The Chalk, I will give her either the opportunity to bowdlerize any portion of the blog she considers “not going to happen” or better yet she can insert a rebuttal at the end of the offending post.
I will call my oldest daughter Blue here. Not the most original name given her electric blue hair, but well earned. With the notable exception of her blue hair, she is the kind of person I want to be like when I grow up.
You know how children will inevitably challenge your sensibilities and discover the hang-ups that you didn’t even know you had. Just when you think you are sooo cool and laid back, your kids will bring home a trans-gendered homeless best friend with multiple personalities all of whom are in need of detox and a place to stay for a couple of days. Maybe you’re not quite as cool as you thought. But I digress. Blue managed to challenge my sensibilities in a much more subtle way a few years ago.
Blue was going through her RENT stage and wanted to dress-up as Angel for Halloween. I love Angel! He/She is a Hispanic drag-queen living and dancing her way through the East Village of the 1980’s, living with A.I.D.S. Angel is the moral and rhythmic center of her eccentric community, saving Collins from a street gang and nursing him back to health. They of course fall in love, it’s still a Broadway musical (actually it’s based upon La Boheme).
Now picture Blue; she’s got the zebra tights and found the sexy red “Santa” jacket/miniskirt with black vinyl boots. Now I’m still cool with all of this! Barely, but I’m hanging on by a thread. Then she comes up to me and says we need to go out and by a short black wig. Let me say that again. A black wig. A BLACK WIG for my BLUE HAIRED DAUGHTER!!!!
It’s funny what sends you over the edge. My train of thought ran right off the tracks, into a brick wall, through that brick wall and into three more brick walls before I could find the brakes. I just could not wrap my head around the absurdity of buying a wig the same color of one’s natural hair. It’s like buying ice instead of using an ice tray. My wife helpfully rolled her eyes at me, which I interpreted as “your coolness has definitely left the building old man”. So with my delusions of laid-backness successfully shattered, I forked over the cash and went looking for the plaid Lazy-Boy recliner that I’m sure miraculously appears in front of his television set when a man reaches a certain age.
A few years have passed since then. Now, when Blue wants to go incognito, she can dawn her Angel wig and her shades and walk anonymously through Harvard Square. In fact her wig collection has grown quite a bit since that first costume.
First of all, it is a BROWN wig right now. And a very classy wig at that. It is my firm belief that everyone should try wearing a wig around at least once in their life. It is a very good experience to have. Especially if it is a brown wig that you order from China, wait three weeks to get, and receive a cheerful card when said wig arrives, thanking you for your purchase in broken English complete with cutesy internet smiley faces (ex: ^-^ ).
Second of all, I also believe that challenging one's parent's sensibilities is not only a crucial part of being an adolescent, but that having your child challenge your sensibilities is a crucial part of being a parent. In one beautiful stroke, it allows the child to feel super cool and "bad", while also letting grandparents have the satisfaction of all those years of "I can't wait until your kids do _____ to you" to be fulfilled. It is a growing experience!
... for the parent that is.