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There's Something About Saxon

Surfer kid shaves his beloved blonde locks to raise money for St. Baldrick's Foundation.

My son and I have engaged in a power struggle over his long sun-streaked tresses for as long as I can remember.

Saxon hates brushing (more on that in ). Always has.

Every morning is a battle.

“Did you brush your hair?” I ask. He waves an Ouchless brush through a few strands and caps his wild mane.

“I’m a surfer, Mom,” he shrugs, when I go ballistic.

Six-dollar barber shop trims don't cut it for this kid. He has his own , also a surfer, who charges top dollar to snip a thimbleful of Saxon's hair twice a year.

Saxon's hair is a huge part of his identity. Every day when we pull up to Fisher, he shakes his wild mane, then flips his bangs, perhaps to conjure some Justin Bieber mojo before facing the middle-school masses.

That's why when he announced he wanted to shave his head, I freaked.

The cause—, which raises money for kids' cancer research—was certainly worthy, but really? I love his bushy blonde hairdo. It's straight out of a Beach Boys' song.

Then I realized, he's 13 and it's his hair so we penciled St. Baldrick's Day on the calendar.

Soon after his decision I noticed Saxon started brushing even less frequently. I continued to hassle him. Then ski week arrived with its many freedoms—no homework, no bedtime enforcement, and no contact with the Ouchless brush whatsoever.

On the first day back to school I was about to climb on my grooming soapbox, but then I thought better. Saxon had been begging to grow dreadlocks forever, and if ever we were going to let him go for it, now was the time. The hair was all coming off in a month anyway. So I stopped nagging and he stopped brushing all together.

After the first week his mop looked unruly as usual.

By the second week, with a little twisting help from Saxon, baby dreads started forming.

Around Day 10 a lovely “There's Something About Mary’’ piece cropped up in front.

Before I knew it his matted blond hair rested on top of his head like clumps of Shredded Wheat.

Not everyone was attracted to the blonde rastafari/Santa Cruz surfer look.

“Gross!” said the producer of the. “Just GROSS! TOTALLY GROSS.”

By the third “gross” I wanted to break her leg—and not in the metaphorically good-luck show biz way. Sure, Saxon's head was starting to resemble a serious rat's nest ... but it was MY kid's rat's nest, thank you very much.

Then I saw him up on stage with his disheveled blonde mane, resembling an escapee from an '80s hair band and I wanted to disappear under my folding chair. If other parents were disgusted, what must his teachers think, I wondered. Probably that I was one bad checked-out mama, especially in the personal hygiene department. No really! I wanted to shout from my seat. I love my child!

Thankfully friends helped me see the humorous side.

“Do you think Locks of Love takes ratty dreads?” I joked to my yoga buddy Cindy.

“No,” she said, “but Taitem wants Saxon's hair to make wigs for her Monster Hi Dolls.”

A week before the event my son went into overdrive collecting donations from family, friends and neighbors. He came home one day and uttered the words I thought I'd never hear. “My hair is really bugging me. I can't wait to shave it off.”

Before we knew it, St. Baldrick's Day arrived. When I walked into the gym on Friday, the kids were so pumped they were bouncing off the bleachers.

Next to Saxon sat 36 other kids (including two girls, Gillian Yost, a classmate since first grade and Ali Fox, a three-time shavee; and Matthew Briski, who lost his sister Alexis, a beloved Fisher Middle School sixth-grader to cancer two years ago.)

Tears slipped down my cheeks as Alexis' dad Kael spoke to the students along with ' mother Christy, (so gorgeous she puts J.Lo to shame), both epitomizing grace and perseverance.

When it was Saxon's turn, I watched riveted. One stool over Ben Clayville, who lost his mom Holly less than a year ago and together with his siblings raised almost $40,000 for the event, sat stoically as the barber buzzed away.

As for Saxon, he was bald in less than two minutes. It was strange to see his hair, a source of such consternation, something that held such power, swept away in the blink of an eye. That's when it hit me how silly I was to have made such a big deal over this temporary thing called hair but what a huge difference shaving it off could make in someone else's life.

My son returned home from school elated. “I felt proud of myself for volunteering and a ton of girls told me I look better bald!” he chattered excitedly.  “Plus I have three teachers—Mr. Ferdette, Siebenthal, and Joanides—I'm gonna be bald with.”

Saxon can't stop caressing his chrome dome—“It feels just like our mohair sofa!”—but try as he might he's finding it difficult to execute his customary Justin Bieber flip. I wonder: is there such a sensation as a phantom mane?

For the record, I snatched up one of his dreads for prosperity. Later when I pulled the furry knot from the bag, he gasped in horror. “GROSS!” he said.

To date, has raised more than $48,000. Contributions are still being accepted. Please click here to donate.

Joni Holland March 19, 2012 at 01:44 PM
GREAT story Kim. So proud of all these kids!
carol musser March 19, 2012 at 05:47 PM
Great fundraiser, good job Fisher students !
Jane Darwin March 19, 2012 at 06:13 PM
Sometimes it is hard for a parent to see the forest for the trees. Or is that dreadlocks for the hair. Looks like your son has taken to head and heart a desire to help others. Wonderful job-parents and children alike.
Kim Ratcliff March 19, 2012 at 06:18 PM
Thanks, Jane. Love your comment and couldn't be prouder of all the Fisher kids.
Tamara Archer March 19, 2012 at 07:15 PM
What a great way for kids to get outside themselves and make a difference for others, especially in such a visual way. It promotes conversation and brings even more energy to the cause. An amazing way to take something temporary and have it affect a lifetime.
Jeanne Rajabzadeh March 19, 2012 at 07:27 PM
Great story. We don't get enough articles about all the things kids are doing right these days. Congratulations to the Fisher students!
Deidre Sayre March 19, 2012 at 08:17 PM
Kimmy girl, Fabulous article. These children are the "light of the world" Thanks so much for letting their light show. Bursting wi pride for them. You look GREAT Saxon. Love ya Thanks to the parents and community for being so supportive :) roro
Chigiy Binell March 20, 2012 at 03:59 AM
Great article Kim. l'm so proud of Sax. He is one of those people who actually look cute bald. Way to go Saxon.
Irene Aida Garza-Ortiz March 20, 2012 at 06:17 AM
I think it's GREAT that more Kids are in the "KNOW". And very much want to volunteer to help out! This is Wonderful!
Kim Battisti March 21, 2012 at 07:09 AM
We look forward to the job of "shaving for funds" as each kid knows the impact they have on cancer research. It's an amazing day, and I applaud all those who went bald because they care. My son gave up on The Beiber cut last year in March! Kim Battisti Jigsaw Salon
Kim Battisti March 21, 2012 at 07:10 AM
We look forward to the job of "shaving for funds" as each kid knows the impact they have on cancer research. It's an amazing day, and I applaud all those who went bald because they care. My son gave up on The Beiber cut last year in March! Kim Battisti Owner Jigsaw Salon
Kim Ratcliff March 21, 2012 at 08:19 PM
Kim! That long line of kids and teachers goes fast and furiously thanks to the deft hands of all you great volunteers. I guess it's time for our boys to give up their Biebers…after all the real JB ditched his Bieber a while ago.

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