I love my daughter’s hair. Right now it is a thickening, but still wispy, nest of golden auburn curls and waves. In the golden hour of sunrise and sunset those curls somehow store inside them the thick light that falls upon them. Her hair foretells a majestic and powerful woman that lives inside her that is waiting – not long enough – to appear. And it is that very transformation that makes me hate her first haircut.
Why the cutting of the hair impacts me so, I can’t understand. But of all the things we must do as parents it pains me deeply. None of the other milestones thus far have made such an impact: not the first hospital trip, not the first tooth, not the first full night of sleep, not the first finger food. All of those firsts passed with remarks from us like “she’s growing up so fast” and the other standard sayings, and we meant them in a very real and sobering way. Somehow these feelings are different with our daughter, the second born, than with our first born son.
Time before children was a lazy river my wife and I occasionally paddled but often simply enjoyed holding hands, laughing, and dreaming about our journey. Our son’s arrival was like an arroyo in comparison – a wild, overflowing, and overpowering ride that swept us downriver without regard to our concerns. We were becoming parents; learning to hold our son above our heads while we held our emotional breath underwater, struggling to not lose sight of each other when the current pulled us apart, living in every good moment because our survival as a unit depended on that focus.
Then the waters were calmed and the lazy river returned, now with the infectious laughter of our son and a new sense of purpose and completeness all at once. Our daughter’s arrival was something altogether different. Her existence on this earth is not the raging current or still water or anything inbetween. Every soul-touching chuckle, flirt, wave, hug, pat, and mannerism is a hidden thing on the riverbank that you realize is special at the very moment your eyes overlook it. And of course we look back, hoping to catch a second glimpse of the magic of childhood. We are so very blessed that the current has been held back by God and that we haven’t missed anything.
Nonetheless time marches on, her hair grows longer, and I find myself scanning the riverside increasingly. So, with our second child I’ve found that life’s balance is not so much about keeping above water, but moreso in trusting that the river will take you where you are going – regardless of how much time you spend enjoying the scenery.