A Clip of Yesterday

I ran my hand across the top of his head, just like I do every time before I start to cut. But this time, this morning, the feel- the texture of his baby soft hair transfers my thoughts to another place… another time. “Your hair feels the same as it did when you were just barely two.” From his perch on the chair I hear a hump and see a slight eye roll (much like his younger sisters’) when I glance down. “You used to love to love to come to the shop and have your hair washed in my shampoo bowl.” I didn’t add- like all the little old ladies that frequented the shop. “Do you remember?”

It was before I was a teacher. Long before he sat on this chair in this kitchen- before he became a young man on the brink of adulthood, most of the way there, with his own ways, his own views, yet still somewhat grounded in the familiarities’ of his youth.

I placed the booster seat in the chair for him to climb into. “Close your eyes,” I coax “and stretch way back, like you’re great big.” He leaned back as far as he could and scrunched his eyes tight, as if waiting for a blow. I grinned down at him as I tested the temperature of the water. “Okay?”
I ask as I lay the nozzle against his scalp. His head nods, but his eyes stay tightly shut. “Hold still” I warn. He settles in and I begin to softly scrub with the tips of my fingers. His little face relaxes as I peer down at him.

I start the cascade of water again and he raises up. “All done?” he asks. “Noooo” I laugh as the water hose goes wild like the water wiggle in our backyard. Me, the mirror, his back, the floor, and almost- the lady beside us- are soaked. “You have to wait until I say ok.” He stretches back once again.

“Ok” I say after we rinse. I wrap his little head in a towel and do my best to dry us all off.

I turn him so he sees himself in the mirror. He grins at the reflection of his towel covered head. “Ready for your cut?” I ask. He grins and nods some more. I trim the feathery soft wisps from around his ears and away from his eyes, then comb it with a part and away from his face, like my mom used to do my brother’s years before. I gaze at his reflection; he looks so big, so grown up. Where has the time gone?

“Do you like it?” I ask. He nods and says “tank you” and just as quickly hops down in search of his sucker that was promised.

The ladies in the shop ohhh and ahhh over his “new do” and he climbs up on my lap; suddenly shy.

He comes back with me the next day. After a while he comes up beside my chair and asks; “we do dat uhgin?” I laugh and say; “ok, but you have to hold still.” 

His dad walks through the kitchen. “Do you remember how he used to like to have his hair washed in the shampoo bowl at my shop, and how all the ladies thought it was so sweet and cute?” His dad
chuckles and says, “yeah I’d forgotten all about that.”

A breath of exasperation his heard below the clippers. “Will you just cut my hair please?” But I see him smother a grin.

“You don’t want to hear about how cute you were? The eye-roll again. “Fine” I say, “I’ll just write about it on my blog.” Now a groan.

He may be a young man on the brink of adulthood ready to graduate college and begin his own life, in his own way, making his own path. But when my hand touches the downy softness of his hair-
he will always be my little boy. I bet if I still had that shampoo bowl he’d still lay back, eyes shut tight, not moving at all.

Where has the time gone?

Kanten Zayne 1991

1992

fall 2010

 

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5 responses to this post.

  1. Awwww.

    Your post makes me want to treasure the small moments of washing my daughter’s hair (now) even more.

    Reply

  2. With a senior and freshman in high school, this definitely pulled at my heart!

    Reply

  3. Posted by the other ruth on July 22, 2011 at 12:40 am

    This is so beautifully written. I love how you take us right back into your memory and how you pull us back into the present with the eye-roll and groan. 🙂

    Reply

  4. What a lovely lovely piece. It brought tears to my eyes. I love how you took us right into your memory. I also could just see your son as he rolled his eyes and groaned…LOL.

    Reply

  5. Tammy,
    I like how you worked back and forth in time. Very powerful.
    Ruth

    Reply

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