Thursday, September 8, 2011

The quiet peace of a haircut

I just want to shout it from the rooftops:

I’M GETTING A HAIRCUT!

To the average reader, this is nothing to be shouting, yelling, or even thinking in all capital letters. But let me tell you, I have not had a stress free hair appointment in over ten years. And while my hair may be longer than it appears in that picture up there by the title of this column, it isn’t dragging on the floor, so you know I’ve endured my fair share of chaotic coiffures.

For the past ten years solid, I have never had a spare chunk of time when all of my children were safely and happily with someone else without me planning it. Being a stay at home mom is not something I would ever trade, but thinking back on some instances when I’m trying to relax so that I don’t jerk my head around to yell at a kid or stick a sucker in another one’s mouth causing the stylist to provide bangs where there was no intention of being bangs, the dream of being free crossed my mind a few dozen times.

But children grow, and recently I took my final child into preschool for her first day. Of course I cried as I watched her solemnly walk into her classroom. So grown up, wearing her new sparkly shoes and a horrendous outfit that she chose all by herself. I sniffled and wept until I got into my car, dried my eyes and opened my ears. That noise, so odd, what was it?

That sound I was hearing was silence. And freedom. I actually felt like I had left something in the building-- a purse, a camera, a phone, a child—when in all actuality all I left in there was the one thing keeping me from an entirely new and uninhibited world of two-hour, kid-free liberty.

If I wanted to listen to songs with bad words in them, I could. If I wanted to eat a cookie without hiding it, I could. If I wanted to go to the grocery store and not have to roll my eyes at my kid who thinks its funny to sneak things like bacon bits and pork rinds into the cart when I’m not looking, I could. (Totally true. She does this at the age of three. Her poor teachers.)

But instead, among other things, I decided to schedule myself an actual haircut, complete with styling and serenity. I am going to wear nice clothes and go early so that I can have a cup of coffee and page through magazines that feature movie stars that I care nothing about and books with bizarre hairstyles in them. I’m going to take a small purse and no hand held video games. I am not going to be equipped with crayons, snacks, stickers, or Matchbox cars, and if there is a sippy cup lying around, I can assure you unequivocally, that it does not belong to me.

In my early motherhood days of pure exhaustion, I specifically remember my first daughter as a tiny infant, sleeping peacefully in her car carrier while my stylist rushed to finish before she woke up. I remember falling asleep to the sound of the blow dryer, a quick few minutes of seclusion, wondering if she knew I was nodding off or if she thought I was just closing my eyes.

Older and wiser, I may still zone out again, but this time it will be from the relief of knowing that my juggling days of sitters and suckers are mostly over. Not dumb, I am absolutely aware that I will someday look back and miss those days of entertaining my kids while trying to do something as simple as look less like a caveman. But for the time being, I’m going to enjoy my few minutes of solitude and really live it up.

Maybe I’ll even go to the dentist. I’m way overdue.

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