I never thought I would be that lady, but I am. Every month or so, usually when their sideburns eerily resemble chops and the top of their heads could double as mops, I get out the clippers to cut our boys’ hair.
We are really professional around here. Our wobbly kitchen stools become the barber’s chair, our back deck becomes the shop, and I, against all odds, become the barber (ess?).
The boys and I both grumble about this set up, but both parties secretly like the arrangement for different reasons. The boys endure my slow work for the grand finale, the blower. Our efficient yet unconventional way of clearing off hair remnants includes directing the intense air stream of our electric blower at our children at a close range. They love it and don’t realize that they look like little chipmunks in a wind tunnel.
As much as I complain about the squirming and impossibility of getting around their ears, I secretly look forward to this arrangement. And it is not because of the money we save, though that is a perk.
As my boys get older, cutting their hair provides a continual connection point, a place where I can serve them in a tangible way without being overbearing. When they were little, their actual and felt needs were ubiquitous. I remember longing for the day when they would not be quite so needy. Yet now that I have two boys on the precipice of adolescence, I find myself cherishing any and every opportunity to meet needs and spend precious time with them.
In the midst of helping with homework, folding laundry, stocking the pantry and driving carpools to sports practices, I sometimes lose touch with my boys as humans. They can too quickly become problems to solve or situations to manage rather than people to love.
As I cut their hair, I am reminded of the God who created them uniquely, who counted every unruly hair on their heads. I see their double crown or their thickly textured hair, and am reminded that I have been entrusted with these masterpieces of the Master artist of all Creation. Suddenly, our back deck, littered with tufts of dark, course hair and brown, thin hair, becomes sacred ground.
The nominal tasks entrusted to me, the ones that often make me sigh in exhaustion or roll my eyes in frustration, suddenly seem weighty. I get to know this little boy’s head, to shape this little boy’s mind, to help create habits that will stick to this little human into adulthood.
We are ten and nine years into the mammoth yet momentary task of making little men. That means that, most likely, we have less time with them under our roof left than has already passed.
Roughly 72 more hair cuts per boy remain (assuming we skip a few months or pay money for a professional to correct my novice barbering). It is not a guarantee how many more haircuts my handsome boys will allow me to perform. They may wise up and begin to care more about style. In the meantime, I am fighting to cherish our sessions on the stools, to see the eternal underneath and all around the ordinary that seems to envelope me in motherhood.
But more than anything, cutting my boys hair leaves me in awe of the One who created them, knows them, loves them, weeps over them and prays for them more than my husband and I do (which is hard to imagine when you love them so much that your heart could burst at times with the weight of joy or strain of worry).
The One who numbers the stars and calls them each by name (Isaiah 40:26), has numbered their hairs (Matthew 10:30). He has numbered their days (Psalm 139) and entrusted their fleeting flight to us. Who is adequate for these things?
Such is the confidence that we have through Christ toward God. Not that we are sufficient in ourselves to claim anything as coming from us, but our sufficiency is from God, who has made us to be ministers of a new covenant, not of the letter but of the Spirit.
2 Corinthians 3: 4-6.