I took Gracie to get a haircut after school today because she decided to cut huge chunks out of her own hair a few weeks ago and it’s taken me a while to do anything about it. To be honest, I didn’t really notice that she had cut all that much. She had this one really short clump of bangs that I noticed several weeks ago, but it wasn’t until we sat down to get her hair cut today that I realized she had several short strands all through her hair.
I found out it happened a couple weeks ago because I went to put her hair up in a ponytail one day and there was a whole part of the front of her hair that suddenly wouldn’t fit in the ponytail.
“What happened to your hair?” I asked her.
“What happened to your hair, Gracie?”
Silence. (Silence is Gracie’s go-to defense. She is a strong supporter of the 5th Amendment.)
“Did you cut your hair, Gracie?” I said.
I told her she looked like a troll again (which is what we said the first time she cut her hair about a year ago) and then I put a clip in her hair and called it a day. Some wars are not worth the battle.
So, that’s how we ended up at the hair salon today.
As we waited for Gracie, Bean talked to me about… Actually, I’m not sure what he was talking to me about. He was just talking a lot. And really big. And I was so fascinated that my little boy was able to have this charismatic, important conversation with me that I got so caught up in watching him talk that I forgot to pay attention to what he was saying. That’s a common side effect of your children growing up too fast.
As he continued to talk, my mind drifted back to this amazingly BEAN-ish conversation we had in the car this past weekend. We were driving around town running errands and I had the Christian radio station turned on. A song came on (“Better Than a Hallelujah,” one of my favorites) that was about God reaching us through really difficult situations. One of the lines says something about God loving our tears, and Bean asked what that meant.
“Well,” I said, getting ready for another big theological discussion that are somehow always brought on in our car, for some reason. “Sometimes when really bad things happen, we turn to God to help us through. And… so… some of those times make us cry or make us angry, and sometimes God uses those tears or anger or hurt to get closer to us… So that we will learn to trust that he will help us through those hard times…”
I sat there for a minute and thought to myself, “GOOD ONE, KATIE!” And mentally patted myself on the back because, as mom’s, if we don’t pat ourselves on the back, no one will!
I looked in the rearview mirror and saw Bean was thinking intensely. His brow was furrowed and he was sitting very still. I braced myself because the follow up questions are always harder than the original question.
“Mom?” he said.
Brace yourself, I thought, gulping. “Yes, Bean?”
“Do humans shed their skin like snakes?”
I sat there for a minute to see if he was kidding, but he continued to wait for an answer. So, I told him, yes, humans shed their skin. And then we talked about scratching dry skin and how dust is partly made of skin particles.
As I sat there waiting for Gracie’s hair to get evened out, listening to Bean go on and on about something very important, I smiled to myself at the randomness of children. At the childishness of children. At the insatiable curiosity of children, that makes them ask 10,000 questions about 10,000 different topics and wonder what will happen if they cut just a little more hair from their bangs. And then I tuned back in just as the hair stylist asked me how Gracie looked. She had done the best she could to fix her hair by cutting it as short as the longest, cut strand. But there was nothing to be done about that wildly frazzled corner of her bands that stood straight up on end.
“Perfect,” I said. “She looks perfect.”