Look at that beautiful fuzz!
My friend posted on
facebook that she was planning to take her little boy for his first hair
cut and since our boys are the same age I felt a wave of maternal anxiety at the idea.
My youngest arrived with a precious layer of
strawberry-blond silk that glowed in the sunlight and stood out around his head
like a halo in every photograph we took.
But now, like his little friend, his hair is getting a bit untidy. It still curls charmingly at the nap of his
neck, but it also hangs in his eyes and is frayed with split ends. The thought of cutting it, though, nearly breaks
When my oldest son was little he
would sit perfectly still on my lap as I ran my fingers through his hair. Now, at four, he stands on a dining room
chair once every few weeks as I painstakingly snip and trim. As he squirms, all itchy and twitchy, I watch
large swaths of thick dirty-blond hair falling floor. His wiggling wears me thin, but when I
threaten to stop half-way through he stills himself immediately, relishing
these rare moments of maternal attention.
My daughter doesn’t let me play
with her hair, but nearly every day of kindergarten she asked for two braids
and stood hopping from foot to foot as I wove the strands in place. After years of trimming her long locks at
home I now take her to Holiday Hair and sit in the empty chair beside her
watching her watch herself in the mirror.
Sophia’s first day of school braid.
I number their hairs, these children
of mine. I scrub and rinse, watching the
water as it pours down over them. I
chant “look up, look up, look up,” begging them to tip their heads back so that
the soap won’t run into their eyes. I
pat their heads and trim as needed, watching bits of their childhood fall to
the floor with each snip of the scissors.
These are some of the many little ways I care for them – brushing and
combing and smoothing down – some of the many ways I express my love.
The intimate relationship a
mother has with her child’s hair reminds me of the place in scripture where we
are reminded that God numbers the hairs on our heads. As I marvel at the little curls that form on
their sweaty heads during nap time, I hear the passage anew as yet another
picture of God’s great love for us; God who knows and loves us with something
like the intimacy between a mother and her tow-headed children.
It won’t be long until they’re
cutting and combing and numbering their own hairs, but on days when they feel
lost or alone, I hope they’ll remember the feeling of my hand on their head, my
voice saying, “Look up, look up,” as the water runs down. I hope they’ll remember the One who loves
them even more than their mother does, the One who numbers the very hairs of
My boy’s beautiful locks.