Earlier last year, just as the weather was starting to warm up, I decided to chop my hair off.
My halfway down my back hair.
My driving me nuts, I'm-not-a-girly-girl-and-I'm-hopeless-at-styling-it hair.
It suddenly, and spontaneously, had to go.
It may (ok, most likely) have had to do with the instantaneous feeling of freedom I felt when I took my son to his first day of preschool.
When he turned 3 he became eligible for the early intervention preschool in our school district.
Suddenly I wasn't alone.
Suddenly I had six hours a week BY MYSELF.
Six hours to go grocery shopping.
Six hours to peruse stores.
Six hours to paint my nails and actually let them dry.
Six hours to donate to a blood drive.
Six hours to make doctor's appointments.
I dropped my son off for his first day of preschool...and I was emotional.
When my daughter started preschool I was cool. I'm a pretty relaxed parent. My son starting preschool was a little different...the communication barrier got to me. Did he understand why I was leaving him? Did he know I would be back? Would he be ok?
I was sad.
Wiping away the tears, I drove down the highway to the next town over to run some errands and I was just sad.
Until it hit me...he would be ok.
And I was free.
Totally free. I had 3 hours to myself that day, alone, to do whatever I wanted to do.
Suddenly the warming weather and my overwhelming sense of freedom hit me in the same magic moment and I decided with very little thought involved that I needed to chop my hair to shoulder length, STAT.
And that, ladies and gentlemen, is how I found myself as a walk in at Great Clips.
Nope, not your fancy boutique hair place.
Just your run-of-the-mill, walk in hair cutting joint.
I had about 30 minutes left to get in and out before picking my son up- time was of the essence!
The hairdresser called my name and I let her know that I wanted the works.
Lol you know...shampoo, cut, and style.
The fancy stuff for a mom with 30 minutes to spare.
Somehow it came out that Little Man was at preschool for the first time.
She asked how I felt about it, and I was honest- it was easier with my daughter.
My daughter knew what was going on when I left her at school for the first time.
Then, something special happened...she got it.
Her now-grown son had Asperger's.
Her son had overcome so many obstacles and was a brilliant, fully-functioning if quirky adult.
Her son had challenged her in the same way when he was young.
We talked about my difficulties with Little Man's hair.
For a good two years I'd trimmed it as best I could while he slept because his sensory sensitivities didn't allow us to go to a professional for a hair cut.
We have worked on it in Occupational Therapy.
I have put him in a booster seat.
I have held him in my lap.
I have tipped huge amounts to the professionals because of the extra stress of dealing with my screaming, flopping child only to go home and attempt to fix the mess they left because they were afraid to cut his hair decently while he was flopping and screaming.
It was hugely traumatizing to both of us.
I have held him in my lap while we both cried huge alligator tears as I attempted to trim his hair.
He was so sensitive that even cutting it in his sleep caused him to frantically wake.
This wonderful woman.
This kind stranger.
This unexpected gift of a person.
She told me to bring him in.
She said she would work with him.
She said she would not get scared off.
She said she understood.
I picked him up from school and immediately returned to this angel of a woman.
She was right.
She smiled. She laughed. She took her time. She let him feel the trimmers. She switched back and forth between scissors and the electric trimmer based on what was working best for him. She smiled and laughed and handed him toys and talked to him like a person.
Not once did she get that look.
That horrified deer in the headlights look.
She smiled, and just kept smiling.
She hugged me at the end.
She loves my son.
And I love her for it.
What a blessing this stranger has been in our lives- she simply has no idea what a difference she's made and what a weight she's lifted.