I'm a little late to the party, but here is my response to Fernsy's Open Call- my first evah blog post.
I love my son. He's smart, articulate, funny, graduated from a good college, and is gainfully employed. But if I ran into him on a dark street I might cross to the other side strictly because of his appearance. The cleancut high school kid that played drums in the jazz band has long since disappeared under a scruffy long beard reminiscent of ZZ Top, long hair, and a uniform of old black t shirts with various heavy metal bands emblazoned on the front, jeans, and a wallet with the obligatory chain. His work clothes are a small step up from that. In my opinion, which he doesn't ask for, but I gently offer on occassion, his looks are limiting his life. His looks are a wall to some looking in. He got his job before the beard and hair were in their current state. I wonder if they'd hire him...or even interview him... based on his current appearance.
Oprah recently did a " Make Over Your Man" show and I filled out an online application even though the context of the show was more wives submitting husbands needing to be brought up to date in their appearance. I was contacted by a producer and given the more lengthy form to complete along with a request for picture submissions. I did this, of course, without telling J., figuring I'd deal with it if he were to be chosen for the make over. Alas, he wasn't chosen, but ironically enough, the first story on that episode was another mom of a 28 year old son...so I know I'm not alone.
Is it an unreal expectation for a mom of a 28 year old son to think I have any impact on his life any longer? We've had an open relationship over the years and J. has been honest about his life experiences....some that I didn't really WANT to hear, but I am grateful for his candor and honesty about them, and appreciative of his willingness to share. Our discussions on this topic however are always circular in motion.
Me: J., do you think your appearance prevents some people from getting to know you?
J.: If people don't want to know me because of my appearance screw them.
Me: But it may be standing between you as an unnecessary obstacle.
J.: Then I don't want to know them if they can't accept me for who I am.
Me: There is a disconnect between your appearance and who you are, though.
J. lives 7 hours away so I don't get to see him as often as I'd like but we keep in fairly frequent communication via phone, email, texts, and Facebook. I appreciate the need for individuality and freedom of expression, but how do other parents out there handle parenting an adult child? I don't want to be a nagging mom, and I do not bring this topic up in each and every conversation. But now J. is thinking about buying his first house and I wonder about a bank's first impression of him when he goes in to apply for a loan. If any of you out there can offer words of wisdom, I'd love to hear your take on it. I know there are worse things in life when it comes to parenting, but like all moms I simply want the best for my son and for him to achieve his full potential.
P.S.This is my first post on OS and I'm feeling nervous and vulnerable.