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Big weekend

I feel like something big happened here this weekend.  Ben got a haircut.  His shoulder-length hair was swept into a ponytail and CHOPPED OFF.  By choice. And this is not the biggest part of it.

One of you may remember that Ben decided to be an attorney for Halloween last year.  He decided in September and never wavered, spent Halloween trick or treating with a borrowed briefcase for his loot.  So after a year of watching Dr. Who episodes with Karl, we were not surprised when Ben decided to be Dr. Who (to be more specific:  David Tenant as Dr. Who, the 10th Doctor) and stuck with it, but we were surprised when he said he was going to cut his hair to do it. Surprised and holding-our-breath delighted.  We’re fine with long hair. We’re not fine with long hair a kid won’t wash or brush.   I made the appointment in September and when the day came around, Ben went willingly to the shearing. He hasn’t had short hair since he was 5.  FIVE.  When I saw his neck and his shoulders — his ears, oh Lord — I wanted to lick him. I really did.  It was like seeing my 5-year old baby all stretched out and with better vocabulary.  He looked an entirely different boy to us, all long-lashed eyes and enormous red lips, pale skin and long neck.

But it turns out that was not the big thing.  The big thing was how he has handled it.  On Saturday, after the hair cut, he was very morose.  He’d made a mistake, he looked like a girl (really? more like a girl than when you had LONG HAIR?) and he never should have done it.  Lucy said she knew this was going to happen.  She is very wise and not blinded by optimism like her silly parents.  It was even worse on Sunday morning when he woke up and realized he really was stuck this way.  But I noticed that there was no storming, none of the previous day’s over-the-top language.  He was sad in the car on the way to church and we all walked in looking no doubt like our dog had died.  None of us can stand when one of our herd is sad.  It makes us ALL morose.  Ben huddled next to Karl in church, removing his hood as he sat down.  And then I heard him singing the hymns and it was the sweetest sound.  I love my son with rabid devotion, but that kid can hold onto an unhappiness with…  well, rabid devotion.  To hear him singing within 24 hours of letting his main identity piece go was nothing short of a miracle.  Well, I was in church so let’s call it a miracle.  He seemed better as they day wore on and this morning, when Lucy (perhaps the most tormented of us all by any of Ben’s sadnesses) said “Ben, do you feel better about your hair this morning?” Ben said “I’m just trying not to think about it.”

Does this sound amazing to you?  It does to me.  The fact that he was practicing almost sanguine resignation instead of rabid gnashing of emotional teeth blew my mind.  He’s almost 11.  Maybe he’s — should I say it? — maturing?  This weekend felt like this Dr. Who episode where the Doctor is fighting these aliens who have infiltrated the British government.  They look like solid English folk until the Doctor challenges them and then they unzip their human “suits” and reveal their pig faces.  Okay, it’s Dr. Who!!   I am NOT likening my son to a pig person.  But this weekend feels transformative. I’ve got a human in my house and he’s growing up.

One Comment

  1. Nicole wrote:

    I love you. And him. And I can’t believe what a mini Karl he looks like now. Wow. What’s a gift this kid is.

    Friday, November 4, 2011 at 11:27 pm | Permalink

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