Yesterday I got a dramatic haircut. Five inches of hair was cut off and I went from having hair that just hangs to an actual cute style that requires "product." I love it.
I thought it was a big enough change that the kids would make some kind of comment when they got home from school. I know change is hard for kids, especially when it comes to seeing their mom change, so I wasn't expecting anything overly kind or gushing with praise. Maybe an acknowledgement that my hair looked different. Or even an "I don't like it," would have been fine. It's a big change after all.
But they said nothing. Not one thing.
Later, I met up with Robert at the Blue and Gold dinner in the evening at church. I'd given him a head's-up that morning that I was getting a drastically different hair cut. I expected that he would say something. But he didn't say anything.
Meanwhile, my friends were making nice comments. I even had one friend's husband comment that he liked it.
It's not that I require validation from the boys in my family. In fact, I've made a point NOT to need validation from them. It saves a lot of hurt feelings. I'm confident in my cooking and clothing choices and hair style: I don't need them to tell me I've done well. It's nice when they do, but I understand that type of observation just doesn't come naturally to them. It's all good.
But today I forced the issue.
I had Isaac alone in the car as we drove to his appointment with the eye doctor.
Me: Isaac, do you notice anything different about me?
Isaac: Your hair?
Me: Yes, I got five inches cut off my hair. How come you didn't say anything about it.
Isaac: When did you get it cut?
Isaac: Oh, yeah. I guess it is really short.
Then, when Ethan came home from school I asked him.
Me: Ethan, do you notice anything different about me?
Ethan: Hair cut.
Me: Yes, how come you didn't say anything?
Ethan: Why should I say anything? I noticed. What else was I supposed to say?
Finally, I asked Jonah. I went through the same routine as with the other two boys and when I asked him why he hadn't said anything, this is what he said.
Jonah: I didn't have anything nice to say. It's a big change. It's like when you see a guy with three eyes. It's surprising and it takes you a while to get used to it.
I believe it's time to teach my boys the art of diplomacy. Maybe even a little white lying. After all, if it's helpful and if it's kind, does it really matter if its 100% true?