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Tuesday, January 07, 2014

A Hair Cut, and a Jump in Age

Exhibit 'A:'  The 'After' Shot
I cut my kids' hair.  I'm not a professional, by any means, and I'm pretty lucky that the styles desired over the years have been largely in my very limited repertoire.   When a particular request stretches my capabilities, I'm grateful for the little bit of curl in each kid's hair to smooth over and hide any imperfections.

I like cutting their hair, though, even when I worry slightly about making a big mistake on a teenage girl's trendy 'do' or fret that I won't be able to match their vision with reality.

Why do I like it?  Most people who know me would immediately guess that it's the money I save by doing it myself.  Between four kids and one husband, that's a lot of heads to deal with.

But it's not that.

I love the way it gives me special time with each of my kids. . .from initial discussions (which sometimes turn into negotiations. . .'No, you may not have a Mohawk, but you may use a little bit of gel on a short cut') through to the actual time spent creating the look and styling it, it's precious 'them and me' time.

And I treasure it.

But there's a side of it that I definitely do NOT like, either.  And it happened again just last night.

Exhibit 'B:'  The 'Before'
My oldest son, Nathan, who is twelve, decided that he was going to make a radical change.  For years, he's wanted shortish back and sides, but a longer mat of bangs that he could sweep nonchalantly across his forehead. . .a la his vision of a surfer dude.  (which is funny as we live deep in the mountains!)

His hair is monstrously thick and grows more rapidly than should be possible according to the laws of nature and common decency.  Because of its unearthly thickness, it takes me ages to cut. . .my scissors just won't go through normal sections of his hair.  I must cut small (tiny, wee!!) sections, which he finds very tedious.

Though his hair in that style looks great on the day it is done, the sides quickly overtake his ears, and before long, it looks like a football helmet instead of a hair do!  Notice exhibit 'B' above.  And that is fresh from a shower, wet, and no where near as 'poofy' as it is when dry.

So I was thrilled when he wanted to go short.  I slapped him on a bar stool in the kitchen and started trimming away before he had time to change his mind.  I've been waiting for this moment for years!

It went much faster than usual, too, as I could actually use electric clippers for a large part of the process for a change.  Before you could say 'buh-bye' to the shocking mound of hair on the floor, it was done.

I stepped back to take a broader view of my handiwork and it hit me like a brick:  he looked so much older.  So.  Much.  Older.

Despite myself, I felt tears rising, which I didn't manage to hide from Nathan.  That set off a mild panic, as he interpreted my tears as 'it looks so horrible it draws me to tears of despair.'  Took a minute to convince him of where my emotion came from and that, really?  He looked awesome.

He just looked so very old.

My baby.  My little man.  My special buddy.  Who is about to turn 13.  Sigh.

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