Last week, I once again suffered the "woe is me" travails of a working mom. As usual, I tried my best to be buttoned up before I left, especially since it was a longer than usual trip for me – three nights away from home and a whirlwind tour of the Midwest: Pittsburgh, Cincinnati and Milwaukee in less than 72 hours. In preparation, I left the laundry clean, the fridge stocked, the dinners planned and notes about camp activities posted on the bulletin board. Even so, Ciara showed up with only a ponytail for “silly hat day” and Liam was sporting his typical shorts and t-shirt for “pajama day”… who thinks of these things anyway?! It wasn’t the lack of hats and PJs that got to me though – it was missing the triplets first haircut that really put me in a tailspin.
In fairness, Des and I had talked about it. I had become unusually attached to the sweet ringlets draping down their necks and the surfer dude bangs that hung over their eyes. Even my grandmother – their great-grandmother – remarked that they looked a bit like girls and a haircut was long overdue. This was the last bit of ammunition Des needed to sharpen the scissors (actually, to buy a professional grade barber set!) and plan a cutting party in my absence.
When I called home on Tuesday night, the soundtrack on the other end of the line wasn’t exactly reassuring. Don’t get me wrong – everyone sounded jolly enough and my Mom and Dad had even showed up for the grand clipping. It was when my Dad said “don’t worry, we improved with each job!” that I really started to get concerned. “Did you take the Flip video?”, I asked. “Um, well, we tried, but, um, I don’t think it came out, I mean it didn’t really work, um, we have some good video of them afterwards, I think.” my Dad said rather sheepishly. “Did you take pictures?! Are there any pictures?!” I asked desperately. Then Des got on the phone. “Well hon, we thought you’d be able to pull the pictures from the Flip and well, that didn’t really work out so well. Trust me though, they look much better – and, like your Dad said, we really did get better with each kid!”
So, as I sat alone in a hotel room in Milwaukee wondering if my dear sweet babies now looked like skinheads, I had not a single photo to assuage my fears. To the contrary, I had mounting dissatisfaction about the current state of affairs. I hated their haircuts and I hadn’t even seen them yet. I just knew I didn’t like them. How could I? I had wrapped up a fairly formidable amount of emotional baggage in those reddish-blonde ringlets.
For starters, I was frankly just pissed that I was once again away for work and missing something – anything – in our kids’ lives. Silly hat day, pajama day, woke up on the wrong side of bed day, whatever. Things were happening and I was missing out. And it ticked me off. Far more substantially though, is the passage of time that the ringlet removal marks. This is it. Simply put, these guys are the end of the line for me – there will be no more babies and there will be no more first haircuts. Those sweet little curls have somehow grown (far too long, ok, I admit it!) to represent the last days of baby-dom. As go the curls, so too goes the ability to truly call them babies. They are now officially toddlers, tykes, little boys. And, while this in many ways represents a triumphant turn (we’ve survived!), it is also bittersweet. Bye bye babies and hello little fellas. So long snugglers and welcome wayward wanderers. Such is life, I suppose, And, it’s not necessarily a bad thing; I realized when I finally got home that it’s not so bad at all. Those babies have turned into little guys that sit up in their cribs and squeal “MAMA, MaMa, Mama!!!!” with delight. And, I must say, with the new haircuts and all, I am equally delighted to see them.
NOTE: For reasons that are obvious if you've just read this post, the pictures above are the "before"... stay tuned... the "after" pics will surely follow...