Seedlings: I’m Not Ready! – By Amy Wall Lerman, Editor
As far as I’m concerned a baby’s hair belongs to Mommy. It’s hands-off for anyone who thinks a pair of scissors should enter the scene. When Evan’s hair started to curl upward just past his neckline at about two years old, my husband thought it might be time for a trim. A quick tiger-mama glare in his direction was enough to cap that thought.
But, I did do a little trim here and there when no one was looking but each precious strand of spun-gold went into a zip-lock bag and was hidden away in my own private treasure chest.
I know I’m not the only mom to go through this. Maybe I’m a little more obsessive-compulsive about it and I know it has more to do with not wanting the baby years to end than anything else.
The baby years are so wonderful. The feel of my little boys’ soft cheek against my face when we cuddle under the blankets at night or the feeling of his little fingers encircling mind as we snuggle up and watch “How to Train Your Dragon” for the 50th time on Netflix. It’s magical and time is fleeting and I’m not willing to let it go. To hell with spreading his wings: None of that is welcome here inside my cocoon of baby-bliss.
I cried when I took Evan for his first official haircut at the mall. It was one of those warehouse type chop-shops full of buzzing buzzers; TV sets blaring; video games blasting – all the trappings to distract our already ADD generation of young boys. As my baby’s hair landed on his shoulders and slipped to the floor, I grabbed at it and held it in my sweaty palms as my husband looked on smiling and shaking his head. I had reluctantly agreed to this first official cut. For Daddy it was a necessary baby-step. A first. But for Mommy it was a thousand steps closer to moving into the dorm. No! Stop! I’m not ready. This is way too fast for me.
Okay, reality check: I didn’t have a baby just to fulfill my own needs. We send our kids off to school on a bus; we hire the babysitter to keep our marriages in tact; we untangle their arms from around our necks when we leave the house to go to work. Eventually, even a crazy mom like me, has to cut their child’s hair. Of course we have kids to expand our families, to continue a legacy, and to fulfill a dream, but we also have them to watch them grow. To beam with pride as they (with our help) become the people they are meant to be. Holding them back because we’re not ready to let go isn’t doing what we’re meant to do.
So, last week, I took my son for another haircut – one of many since the first – but this time, it was different. I took him to a real barbershop. The kind of place where greetings are on a first name basis; no-credit-cards; lots of sports-chat; a take a number and wait kind of place that I thought only existed in Leave-It-To-Beaver-Main-Street-America – not a mile down the road from my house. It was a long wait and my normally impatient child seemed to be just as intrigued by the atmosphere as I was. We waited because this is where I wanted Evan to be. His hair had grown long and thick – just the way Mommy likes it. The light-brown mop with its golden hues had grown knotty and dense, but still forming those little curls around the neckline – still my baby.
When Evan was called to the old-fashioned chair, he climbed up without hesitation despite the lack of taxi-shaped baby seats complete with steering wheels. No fire truck with push-button siren for this kid – just a barbershop chair with a booster seat. As the black cape was wrapped around him and a little piece of paper towel tucked inside the neckline, Evan said, “I’m ready.” He grinned from ear as his beautiful hair hit the ground. I snapped some photos to prevent myself from lunging for those locks. Was mommy growing up too? Not so fast, I’m not ready!
But this is one of many milestones ahead of us – and trust me – I’m clinging to every last shred of babyhood as I watch my boy grow. One day those pink cheeks will be covered in a bristly beard and he will do whatever he wants with the hair on his head. He is here to spread his wings and I am here to watch him fly as I rummage through my treasure trove of memories, photos and zip-locked bags of gold.
Amy Wall Lerman, Editor of the Motherhood Later Than Sooner eZine, Baby Bloomer, is a television news producer and writer. She is the author of several books including The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Critical Reading and The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Family Games. Her poetry has been published in an online literary journal and she maintains her own blog called Dodillydo. Amy lives in New Jersey with her husband and 4-year old son.