This week my oldest son received the last haircut he would get from me for the next two years. During that time, I won’t be able to see him except through occasional video calls. For those in my readership who are not members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints you’re probably wondering why, but he chose to serve a two-year mission for the church.
Anyway, that final haircut came with playful banter like always between us. I swear, I nipped the kid’s ear once with the scissors and he’s never let me live it down. While holding his ear down and pretending like he’s cowering in fear, his next question surprised me.
“So who will cut my hair while I’m gone, my companion?”
I laughed. “No, you’ll go to a salon or a barbershop, like me and your sister do when we want our hair cut.”
“Oh. I only thought those places cut hair for girls.”
His innocent response struck me in such a way I stopped laughing. You see, he’s only seen the inside of a barbershop once, when he was six months old. My son’s hair had grown so long by that time, I either needed to start putting it in ponytails or it had to be cut. I’m not professionally trained to cut hair, but that event was so traumatic for everyone involved, even for the hairstylist, I never took him back to a salon. For the first five years of his life, he screamed and I mean screamed every time his hair was cut. You would have thought I was cutting off his head. A neighbor even once pushed himself above the brick fence between us to make sure I wasn’t killing him. I apologized and explained he would probably hear this every time I needed to cut his hair. Oh, it took forever for him to finally stop acting like that, but it also forced me to learn a new skill. In our household, I now even cut my husband’s hair.
I’m sure my son will find out a stylist can do much better job than me while out on his mission, but I’m grateful for the memories his comment brought to mind. Those years, even with all the struggles that came with raising small children and all their weird quirks, are precious to me above all else. My only regret is that I sometimes wished those days away. Now I would give anything to go back, just for a little while, and enjoy how they once were.