The bathroom door is shut yet again.
My God, it is happening.
Not for me, of course. I survived that wild wasteland many decades ago. But for my youngest.
I remember clearly the same with his older brother. About midway through that eleventh year, the earth started to shift under my feet.
And so it begins. With something as mundane as a closed bathroom door.
What emerges, after 15 minutes, is a boy who has taken great care with the hair gel I bought him. His wavy hair is carefully slicked with the swoop over the forehead just so.
I suppress a smile, as I see the globs of gel still stuck in his hair. He cares enough to want to look good but not enough to be sure the gel is properly distributed.
I tell him how handsome he looks and ask if I can help “just a tad” with a comb. He acquiesces, another sign puberty is still around the corner. When it hits, I won’t be allowed to touch that hair.
And when the hair is just so, I ask him to hurry so he will not be late for school. He dons his winter jacket, too warm for today’s unusually clement Midwestern weather. I remind him of the climbing temperature and ask him to grab his hooded sweatshirt. Instead of doing so, he tells me that “hoodies ruin hair.”
Winter jacket it is then, my love.
Hoodies do ruin hair. Just like approaching puberty can ruin a mother’s sense of peace. He will not be mine forever. And that is as it should be.
I can make peace with the closed bathroom door and the hair gel.
I will save my battle gear for girlfriends and requests for the car key. And I’ll make sure he wears a hoodie on every date. After all, hoodies ruin hair, as every good Romeo (and his mother) knows.