On Thursdays I post from the vault. This post is from May 2008.


Jafta has been asking me, with increasing fervor, to cut his dreadlocks off. He really wants a buzzcut like his friend Nate, and like his cousins Austin and Derek. I think that he is at an age where he is noticing the physical differences between he and most of his friends. His hair is a major difference, and he wants to look more like everybody else.

I know that this is the right thing to do for him, but I am just wrestling with it. I know it sounds so shallow. It’s just hair, right? But for some reason it brings up strong emotions for me. For one, he has had dreadlocks since he was a baby. It’s the way I am used to seeing him. I always have a hard time with change. In fact, early in our marriage, a haircut was Mark’s way of getting back at me any time we had a big fight. (of course now that we are both marital therapists we never disagree on anything. mmmwwwwaaahahahahaha!) I know that cutting his dreadlocks will make him look older. He won’t look like the same little boy I am used to.

I also feel like his dreadlocks have been a labor of love. Hair is a major issue in transracial adoption. It took me so long to figure it out, and I worked very hard at cultivating those dreadlocks and giving him a good, afrocentric head of hair that wouldn’t scream, “my mama’s white”. I soaked up every bit of information I could find on maintaining dreadlocks. I am pretty proud of those darn dreadlocks.

Wow, I’ve just given lots of reasons about me, me, me and what I want. And I guess this needs to be about what Jafta wants. So, sometime this week, I think we will be heading to the barber to give Jafta a “hight and tight” buzz. And I will do my best not to cry.