By Barbara Falconer Newhall
“Hey, Barbara. Come look. Christina’s bald.”
“Yes, bald. Her picture’s on Facebook.”
I dashed upstairs. I usually do a slow trudge up the stairs when Jon invites me to look at something he’s found on the Internet. Dutifully, I coo at the baby elephant or hiss at the mouthy politico, then I trot back downstairs to my writing room or the kitchen.
Not this time. This was an emergency. I sped up the stairs. Our 32-year-old daughter, who lives down in Southern California, had gone bald. Bald! Had she come down with a terrible disease? Or — worse — had she gone all goth and dark and edgy?
Sure enough, there she was on Jon’s monitor, smiling at Mom and Dad from cyberspace, as bald as the day she was born.
Obviously, this was not an accident or a case of sudden onset alopecia. My daughter had shaved her head bald. On purpose.
“I’m calling her up,” I said.
“What’s the rush? She’s at work right now.”
What’s the rush? Our daughter has shaved off all her beautiful, dark hair. Where will this lead? Multiple nose rings? Twelve-inch fingernails? Scarification? Crack cocaine?
One-Way Trip to the Dark Side?
Clearly, Christina was headed for a life on the dark side, and it was all my fault. I’d been too tough on Christina as a kid. Or had I been too easy? Doesn’t matter. Somewhere along the way I had messed up. My daughter’s self-esteem had tanked, and this head-shaving thing was a cry for help.
I dialed. Christina picked up. “Hi, Mom.”
Voice normal, cheerful even. No gothy edge.
“You’re bald. What happened?”
“It’s for Halloween. I’m going as Furiosa?”
“You know, Furiosa in ‘Mad Max.’”
I didn’t know.
No Worries, Mom
“It’s OK, Mom. I’m letting my hair grow back. I’m not going to stay bald. You don’t have to worry.”
My daughter was worried that I might be worried. How sweet. I’d raised a good, solid kid
after all. Not only that, she’d paid a hairdresser real money to do the job. No scruffy amateur haircut for my daughter. She’d hired a professional.
Daughter’s self-esteem intact. Check. Mom a good mom. Check.
Days later, a second picture showed up on Facebook. There was Christina, fully made up and looking . . . goth and dark and edgy.
She was stunning.
Furiosa — One Tough Broad
I paid six bucks to watch “Mad Max: Fury Road” on TV. Turned it off halfway through. Couldn’t stand it. Way too grim and gory for the likes of me.
Some day, when I’m feeling personally more self-esteemy, maybe I’ll toughen up, pay a visit to the dark side, and watch as this edgy Furiosa broad triumphs over evil. She does, doesn’t she? I mean good always wins out over evil in the end, doesn’t it?
More about my adventures in mothering a daughter at “A Cry in the Night. ‘Mommy, I’m Scared.'” Christina watchers are familiar with her long history of dark and scary Halloween get-ups — anything but pretty. Details at “My Daughter the Trash Heap.”
You can get my weekly posts by following me on Facebook or Twitter, or via email updates. Look for the icons at the top of the column on the right.