The Back Porch Salon
Little one, with golden curls falling in front of your face, blocking your eyes from view, your first haircut is very much overdue. I had planned to take you to a fun kids salon, letting you choose a little fire truck, police car, or vintage airplane to sit in while I oohed and ahhed over what a big boy you are, praying the stylist wouldn’t cut those beautiful curls too short, silently mourning another last first; my last baby; the last time I will rapidly snap photos at a first haircut. I can envision exactly how it would have gone. Me; blinking tears back from my eyes as I consider how we are moving out of the baby years, feeling both nostalgic at the passing of time and excited about the possibilities opening up as my little trio of boys gets older. You; delighted by your choice of vehicle, observing the stylist carefully as she begins trimming your beautiful golden curls.
I never could have imagined that 2020 would look like this; that all of our plans would be changed, calendars emptied, schools virtual. I had grand plans for this fall; we would drop off one brother at elementary school and one at preschool, and then you and I would explore. We would head to the parks and library storytimes, the play cafes and MOPs group. I would revel in the ease of having only one child with me as we explored all of these places, soak in all the things I could do as a stay at home mom that I could not when your brothers were this age and I was working. After our adventures, we’d head home for my little sidekick to get a nap and I’d catch up on the household chores before we headed back out for the carpool rounds. I was so looking forward to this fall; no longer tied to two naps like we were this time last year, you are at the perfect age to enjoy all the outings.
But here we are in 2020: unexpected, unprecedented, times like no other. We’re not zipping around town in between carpools. No, instead I’m wrangling you as you try your best to take over the first grade desk, eagerly reaching your hands out for the shiny keys of the chromebook, looking behind you as you dash off with headphones trailing behind you, brother hot on your heels. You are unvelcroing the dates from our calendar as I try to sing preschool circle time songs and teach about weather and the days of the week and and you are perfectly timing your toddler tantrums to coordinate with the moments that virtual school requires your first grade brother to unmute and answer a question during class.
Every time I come to get you from your crib, you are looking out the window, pointing urgently. “There, out there,” you seem to say. “Do you remember? There’s a whole world out there! Why are we always staying here?” I’m sorry, little one. I had such fun plans for us this year, and trying to keep you entertained and out of your brothers’ hair during virtual school while we are stuck at home for the sixth month in a row was not included in those plans. “One day,” I whisper to you as I lift you from your crib. “One day, we’ll go places again.”
I held out as long as I could for the haircut, constantly pushing hair out of your face, hopeful that a return to normal was just around the corner. But the pandemic rages on, we continue to self-isolate, so here we are, on the back porch, getting your first haircut. It’s not what I envisioned; there is no exclamation of delight as you choose a vehicle to sit in. Instead you sit in your outdoor highchair and golden curls fall around you. Your daddy hands me one to tuck away with your baby book, and I blink tears back: my littlest boy, growing so fast. You clutch a mask in your hands, intrigued by this thing that everyone now wears on their faces; you don’t want to wear it, but you don’t want to let it go. You observe carefully, taking note of the scissors moving around you and hair floating to the ground.
Your first haircut isn’t what I had imagined, no. But as with most of this crazy year, we’ve made the best out of a strange situation. Golden curls now frame your face instead of falling into your eyes and we have a very 2020 milestone to inscribe in your baby book--your very first haircut, in the back porch salon.