Making the Cut

Oliver got his first haircut, oh, about 4 months ago now. I wanted to write about it then, but I was too traumatized by 1) the disappearance of Oliver’s gorgeous blonde locks, and 2) the immediate realization that my baby is not really a baby anymore. Seriously, when did that happen? I had to wait until his hair had grown back a little before I could tackle this post without PTCD flashbacks. That’s post traumatic cutting disorder for those not in the know on my made up lingo.

The actual haircut, like most activities outside of Oliver’s comfort zone, was met with its fair share of (adorable) tears, whimpering, and ultimately resignation. I think it helped that he has an acute awareness that scissors are sharp and potentially dangerous, and it’s best to sit still when said scissors are inches from your face. It also helped to have Grandma there to distract him. Never underestimate the value of a well-placed Grand Parent to help you through a potential meltdown.

When all was said and done, Oliver left the hair salon (can I call Great Clips a salon?) as happy as can be, and thanks to his toddler brain, probably has no recollection of ever going at this point. I, on the other hand, left the hair salon feeling so devastated I’m thinking of starting a support group for those with “cutter’s remorse.”

I feel like I walked into the salon with a chubby-cheeked baby and walked out with a little boy—one who will soon be too old for kisses and hugs and cuddle time with his mom.  And while I’ve always known this independent streak would come one day, something about cutting off those few inches of hair made that day seem so much closer.

On good days (the only ones I can seem to remember anymore), I used to wish that Oliver could stay a baby forever. Now, with a fun, spirited toddler on my hands, I find myself glad to be out of the baby stage and wishing to stay in the toddler stage forever. It seems like whatever stage we are in, I just want it to last a little bit longer than I know it can, like clinging to the last grains of sand as they fall between my fingers.

What I’m learning though, is that I can choose to stare at my empty hand, wondering where all the sand went, or I can look ahead, far down the beach, and see that there is so much more.

Out of necessity, motherhood has been a crash course in embracing change. And while I can’t say I always welcome it gracefully, I am learning to accept it, let it settle in, and then reassess. I’m learning that if I keep looking back, I’m going to miss a lot of the present. And missing out on the present will only create more longing for the past when this stage flies by too.

When we got home from the salon, I stuck Oliver’s hair clippings unceremoniously on the kitchen counter. At some point they unknowingly made their way to the garbage. I’m considering this the ultimate lesson in letting go. And not to ever stick anything of value next to the garbage can.

Thankfully I still have the real thing to run my hands through. And while it’s not full of baby curls and surrounding the chubby cheeks of my itty-bitty baby, it is attached to the head of one ever-evolving big boy who is brimming with his newfound personality. And that’s one change I am grateful for.