***I am so thankful to be a part of this blog circle "Letters to our Sons" with so many amazing photographers and moms. In honor of our love for our little boys, we are posting a monthly image(s) along with a corresponding, heartfelt letter. After reading my post, please click HERE to continue around the circle, starting with the very talented Lauren Ammerman.
I think I am coming to terms with it - finally. It's been almost six weeks since your first major haircut - "major" being the key word to describe not only how much Daddy chopped off but also the kind of reaction I had afterwards. The night before you were to have your preschool photo taken, I asked Daddy to give you a "shape up". Translation: Take a little off the top and clean up the sides around the ears. Daddy had given you a shape up before, so I just assumed this time would be the same. Off I went to put your baby brother down to sleep for the night, while Daddy sat you on a stool in the bathtub and got the clippers ready. Yes, the clippers.
About ten minutes later I walked past the bathroom and saw your hair was cut down to a "fade" of sorts. Thinking it was close to being too short, I warned Daddy who assured me he was just cleaning up the spots that were too low because you kept moving your head. It didn't take long however, for Daddy's promise to break into a million little pieces. I walked out of Grey's room, past the bathroom and caught a glimpse of you out of the corner of my eye. You were still seated on the stool smiling, as if to say, "Hey Mommy! Look at my new haircut!" My stomach just dropped and I Instantly burst into tears. You were nearly bald. You looked like you were suffering a terminal illness or had survived the squalid conditions of a child labor internment camp - and as your mother, I wasn't prepared for the shock. Even writing this now I almost feel sick all over again. With your glorious curls gone, replaced by a super low crew cut - I was definitely in a state.
Why did you cut it so short?
Oh My Gosh!! What happened?!!"
Daddy said it was because you moved your head and there was a huge bald spot that could only be fixed by cutting it all off. Really?!! I would have much preferred a bald spot over a full on shearing! But not wanting you to feel insecure in any way about your new coif, I fought to get control of my emotions. I walked out of the bathroom, closed the door behind me and went into the bedroom and cried.
I managed somehow to find the words to tell you that I liked your new haircut, that you looked amazing and beautiful -although I'm sure you hardly believed me. Daddy took you to your room to read you a bedtime story while I took a deep breath and went back into the bathroom. Your hair was everywhere - all over the floor, behind the toilet, in the tub. I got down on my knees, tears streaming down my face, and started sweeping them up - saddened by how quickly the garbage can was filling up with your beautiful baby curls that had taken so long to grow.
That night after you had fallen asleep, I snuck in your room to just look at you. I stayed in there for God knows how long. Who was that little boy lying there? My greatest wish was that when you woke up the next morning your hair would have grown - that you would have your little afro back.
I realize that a major factor in my devastation was that my first baby was no more. This new haircut instantly made you like you were ten years old, not three. When I shared this story with some of the other moms at your school the next day, they were a total comfort. "Was this his first big haircut?" one mother asked. When I said it was, she shook her head and said, "Of course, that makes complete sense. That first big haircut can be really hard for us [moms]. And Dads just don't get it."
The fact that the following day was school picture day was just the nail in the coffin. I considered not taking you in to school and have you do the make up shot at the end of the month, but quickly decided that wasn't right. You would proudly rock your new haircut in a photo with your teachers and friends. I mean it's only hair and it will grow back I kept telling myself. Thankfully you have a grand collection of hats that you love and had already chosen one to wear the next morning.
I love you son, always and forever.
And already your curls are making a comeback!
Little Lion King Afro: In Memoriam