I know that most parents think their children are the best, brightest and most beautiful, and of course, I am no exception. I like to brag about my kids. Especially when they doing something good, and not just cute-because-he's-only-seven-and-would-be-arrested-otherwise. My little guy (who recently became my middle guy) just had his hair cut after a three year hiatus. Avery decided to donate his hair to Locks of Love about three years ago, shortly after my aunt passed away from lung cancer after a lifetime of heavy smoking. Her death sparked a lengthy and likely terrifying discussion with my boys about the horrible habit of smoking. I did all the things that parents probably aren't supposed to do, including forcing my then seven- and four-year-old to watch web videos of bald chemo patients begging children to not start smoking as they had done. They cried along with the 35 year old smoker, Ben, who shared his good-byes to his young children from his hospital bed. They swore up and down they would never smoke. They had nightmares that witches and robbers were forcing them to smoke. I hope that all the consternation worked, although I'm not entirely sure it will. I remember being terrified that my dad was going to keel over any second because he smoked and was always slightly suspicious when he didn't immediately die whenever he lit a cigarette. Maybe that's why I started smoking myself while in high school. Maybe the siren song of the Salem Ultra-Light 100s was just too strong for me to resist (Could there be a worse first cigarette to smoke?). Maybe I was just too in love with the all-grown-up new sixteen year old me who was taking names and kickin' ass with a cigarette firmly in place. Maybe I was just that dumb. Who knows. I did a lot of inexplicable things when I was sixteen. And that's one of the reasons why I am so proud of my son Avery, who took my heavy-handed anti-smoking crusade and turned it into the opportunity to donate his hair to children with cancer. It hasn't been easy. He hates having his hair brushed. He really hates having people refer to him as a girl. Especially when we go to visit my parents every year in Gulf Shores, affectionately known as the Redneck Riviera, where apparently the dudes do not look like ladies. I will never forget this little girl at my parents' pool. She was, quite simply, aghast in her little Southern way when she saw Avery. "Mama! That girl doesn't have on her swimming top!" I said "No, it's okay. He's a boy. He just has long hair." She responded, indignant, "Mama! That boy's mama doesn't cut his hair!"
The stylists at the Ultimate Salon and Spa at 5713 Monona Drive give free hair cuts to people donating their hair to Locks of Love. Ask for Brynn!
And p.s. I quit smoking a long time ago.