Historically, little boys have dreamed of becoming fire fighters or cowboys while little girls envisioned themselves as nurses or teachers. What is not often acknowledged, however, is the virtually universal career ambition among the preschool set. Show me a four year old and I will show you a budding hair stylist. If you have had even a nodding acquaintance with more than two children you will have witnessed the results of this passion.
I’ll never forget the young son of our highschool basketball coach. This was one of those late in life babies and *spoiled rotten* barely begins to describe this little blond imp. He normally wore his perfectly straight blond hair in a bowl type cut. I doubt this was the goal but his hair fell straight over his brow rather than the more traditional, side parted style of the times. He often accompanied his father to basketball practices and to this day I distinctly remember the intriguing hair cut he gave himself. Imagine, if you will, straight blond bangs with a perfectly centered gap of about an inch wide, cut to the scalp. I’m not sure what the parents were thinking but he wore it this way until it grew out. There were no attempts to even things up by cutting his hair short all over.
Over the years I heard about and saw many, many more children who were getting an early start on a career in hair styling or had been the willing recipient of another child’s tonsorial practice. Being the type who prefers to learn by avoiding the mistakes of others, I tucked these observations away until such time as I had children of my own. All conscientious parents are careful to keep medicines and cleaning supplies locked up or at least well out of reach of their children. I took this a step further and kept all household scissors locked up as well. I had a horror of discovering my young daughter with the long, blonde hair (who had been virtually bald the first year of her life) missing a chunk of that pretty hair. Whether she would have done it to herself or whether her older brother might have been the budding stylist, I wasn’t quite certain. In any case, I wasn’t taking any chances.
And we managed to escape that particular childhood trauma. Well, at least until she got gum in her hair while I was at work and my husband cut a foot long chunk out. But that’s another story for another time.
Fast forward to the Friday before Christmas. Keep in mind that my son is almost 23. And according to college admissions tests, quite intelligent. For the past couple of years he has been keeping his hair cut fairly short by use of a pair of electric clippers. These clippers have various detachable guards so you can select the desired length of hair and then just run the clippers over the head leaving an even amount of hair. He does this himself and then I help even up the back, shave his neck and trim over the ears with scissors. I’m sure he has saved a lot of money on haircuts as a result of this.
On this fateful Friday evening I heard him come over from the guest house where he lives. I was in another room but heard him talking with his dad. David called to me and when I came into the kitchen I was greeted by the sight of my handsome son who now had a bald patch on the front left side of his head. Apparently he had been getting ready to do some grooming when a phone call from one of his many female friends distracted him. After he got off the phone he went to trim his hair but had forgotten that he had taken off the guard.
You know, there is something to be said for growing older. Even a couple of years ago I might have freaked out, especially in light of the fact that we have a tradition of taking a family photo after the Christmas Eve service at our church and there was no way his hair would grow back in two days. But one look at my son and I instinctively knew that if I lost it, he would, too. So I did what any mother of a crazy son learns to do. I laughed. And laughed. Pretty soon all three of us were cracking up and making jokes about his new look.
I did have enough presence of mind to grab the camera. I took the first shot of Chris standing in front of the Christmas tree, turned with his *normal* side to the camera. The second showed his brand new bald spot and a sheepish grin. The third was of his dad shaving the rest over the bathroom sink. The final shot was of my newly bald son and his barber/dad together in front of the tree.
Fortunately I made sure to rotate his sleeping position as a baby so Chris has a very nicely shaped head. He also has a bevy of female friends who think whatever he does is just wonderful and told him they liked his new look. It’s been 11 days now and there has been enough growth that it almost looks like something someone would do on purpose. Well, maybe if they were joining the armed forces or a cult. Still, we’ve all become accustomed to it which perhaps explains why the basketball coach and his wife didn’t try to fix their son’s haircut. I guess you can get used to anything.