December 30, 2010

Locked up

I had a new experience today.  This morning, I made my first trip to a black salon.  LOVED it.  Miles' hair was getting a little out of control.  Stretched out it is about 5 inches.  I love those tight curls, but it needed to be styled or cut because it was becoming unmanageable and thirty minute detangling sessions were wearing on our relationship.  I couldn't bear the thought of cutting it.  I've dreamed for a long time, before he ever even came home, of having a little boy with dreadlocks.  I tried to do his hair in twists and get them to lock up, but I never could quite get it right and I'd always undo the twists before it had time to lock up.

I needed professional reinforcements.  I've read enough of the Livesay's hair traumas to know that I didn't really trust a white person with my son's tight curls. Upon a friends recommendation, I took Miles to a salon about 40 miles out of town.  It was the kind of place where there were bars on the windows. But we walked in and there were men all over the place with stunningly gorgeous, waist long locks.  I felt instantly like we'd made the right choice in coming here.

Miles' loctitian, took him to the back and shampooed his hair.  He said those words that every white mama of a black child dreams of hearing, "You've done a really good job with his hair.  It's in great shape." I about beamed with pride. Learning to take care of black hair takes time, patience and trial and error.   I thought I was doing a great job, but I secretly wondered if my African American friends were laughing at my ineptness behind my back.  I think that it is something that we all worry about in raising children of a different race.  That's a whole other post, though.

Anyway- after the washing came the twisting.  Miles sat still as a stone, occupied by Angry Birds and goldfish crackers, for nearly two hours. (An hour of twisting and about 45 minutes under the dryer) 
I listened to the chatter around the salon and everyone seemed to be excited that someone was arrested last night in connection with Tupac's murder.  There was music playing and people singing along under their breath and bobbing their heads to the beat.  Everyone was in everyone else's business and they didn't even try to hide it.  At the salon I go to, of course you listen in on everyone else's conversations, but you do it on the sly.  Here there was no pretense.  It you said it, it was everyone's business.  It was like being among old friends.  It was such a neat cultural experience.  I want that for my son.  I want him to feel like he can be a part of the white community and the black community and not feel trapped somewhere in the middle.  That may be just a pipe dream, but a girl can hope, right?

The boy is now sporting a whole new look. He looks so much older.  I'm having a hard time getting used to it. Right now his parts are so prominent that it is a little unsettling, but I know in a week or so, everything will loosen up and lock up and be looking fabulous!
Forgive the camera phone pictures.  I did not want to be "that" mom in the salon with the big honkin' camera.  I'm trying my hardest to preserve what little bit of dignity I have left!

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