Thursday, July 5, 2012

The Small Stuff

"For in him we live, and move, and have our being..."
Acts 17:28  (KJV)

I removed the #3 clipper guard from the hair-cutting clippers,
and I placed the clippers and guard on the couch behind me.
I stood back to scrutinize the haircut I had just given Zachary.
He was seated in the middle of the living room,
under the ceiling fan light, on a kitchen chair.
He was patient, bless his heart,
as I continually touched up spots that I thought still needed attention.

Let's just face the cold, hard fact.
I am not a barber.
I didn't take classes, and I sure don't profess to be a professional.
But, I have learned to cut costs wherever possible,
in order to have the opportunity to stay home with this little fellow,
be a full-time Mama to him, and to have the privilege to homeschool him each day.
It is worth every, single corner I have learned to cut over the years.
The sacrifices we make to live off of one income,
are really not sacrifices at all.

In order to cut these costs, I've learned to do a lot of things.
I figure if I watch someone doing something long enough,
by God's help, I should be able to learn to do it on my own.
And save the money.

Hence, my barbering attempts.
I observed his haircuts, and at some point, I got the nerve to start cutting his hair on my own.

As I cut his hair, I do something that is habitual to me....
no matter what I am doing.
Whether it be cooking, cleaning, homeschooling, writing, or countless other tasks....
as I go about them.....I pray.
I depend upon God so much.
If I had a dollar for every time I call upon Him throughout the course of one day,
well, let's just say, we would never have another financial worry.

It is in Him that I live and move and have my being.
I am completely at His mercy, and I am constantly reminded that I need Him....for everything.

I was rushing that day...as I cut Zach's hair.
We were going to church that night,
I was running out of time,
and I wanted it to look nice.
Besides that, his end-of-the-year school program was coming up in a couple of weeks.
He always looks forward to it so much.
If Kevin can't get off work to go,
Zach and Mom and I go...just the three of us.
It is a really big deal to all of us.
It is hosted by our homeschool support group,
and they allow us to recognize our children by giving each family
time to call their children up front to be presented with
certificates for special accomplishments they have made.

This year was special.
Zachary just finished 5th grade,
and he and the other 5th graders would receive special recognition.
Kevin had asked for the night off months ago,
and it had been approved.
Kevin, Zach, Mom, and I were all planning to go.
We were all looking forward to it...very much.

So, this haircut really mattered to me.

I prayed.
That God would somehow help me to do a good job.
I didn't want to do anything to make Zach feel ashamed of his hair.

Careless me.

How could I have done it?

I saw a stray strand of hair that was sticking straight up...
right near the top of his head....in a very noticeable spot, I might add.
So, I grabbed the clippers off the couch where I had flung them just minutes before.
And I took a quick swipe...to even things out.

Have you ever done something and instantly regretted it?
Just as soon as it was done you recognized a horrible mistake,
and the realization that it could not be undone washed over you like a tidal wave?

I suddenly felt sick...to my stomach.
I stood there in total disbelief...at what I had just done....to my unsuspecting, trusting child.
He didn't have a clue.

Forgetting to put the guard back on,
the clippers had done what they were supposed to do.
Without the guard attachment,
they had literally shavedhuge, blatantly noticeable path...
the full width of the clippers....
near the top of his head.

It was bad.

Not just a slight nick....but a huge one.

I felt like sinking to the floor and crumbling into a pool of tears.

Somehow, I kept my composure, and I didn't say a word.

Tears filled my eyes.
I felt so sorry inside..
that I had caused this.....through my negligence....my carelessness.
If only I could go back to a few seconds before!
I would have been more careful.
I would have re-attached the #3 guard.
I would never have let this happen.
Especially now.

There was absolutely nothing I could do.
To fix this.
To make it better.
To make it less embarrassing...for Zach.

Should I tell him?
I stood there and pondered.
Once before, when he was much younger,
a barber had done the same thing.
Her clipper-guard had accidentally come off,
and she had nicked his hair.
It was pretty bad, too.

We never told him.
We didn't feel the need to upset him.
Thankfully, no one else did either.

But, this time...he is older....more aware of his looks.

Oh, why did I do this??

I finished up, brushed Zachary off, sent him off to the bathtub,
and I walked into our room where Kevin was getting ready for church.
I told him the shameful news.

We decided to tell Zach.....together.
Poor, little guy.
He took it pretty well.
I think he was afraid to react....
seeing me crying and telling him how sorry I was.
He felt bad for me....not himself.

He tried to figure out a way to stick the hair back on to his head.
He thought of gluing it, taping it, and all sorts of things.
The sad reality is,
cut hair cannot be reattached.
What's done is done.

I called Mom, nearly in tears.
My panic scared her.
After I told her what happened,
she told me she was afraid I was going to tell her I had cut his ear...
during his haircut.
She was relieved and quick to put things in perspective.

We went to church.
We didn't know it would be her last time....going with us.
Zach was ashamed to face everyone.
I told him I knew they would all be understanding.
But, I remember being 11.
This is serious business to an 11 year old.

He sat in the back and kind of shrunk away by himself.
His best friend stood by him, like he always does.
Zach finally seemed to put it out of his mind by the time
we went to our friends' house after church.

For the next several days,
he wouldn't leave the house without his cap.
I couldn't blame him.
He even had to strategically arrange it on his head,
so the shaved spot didn't show through the opening in the back.

Soon after my flop with the hair-cutting clippers, Mom was admitted to the hospital.
At first, Zach was still very aware of his hair problem.
He wore his cap everywhere, and even hated taking it off when we prayed.

Day after day, we became more aware that Mom's situation might not end well.
I noticed that the more concerned about Mom we all became,
the less Zach worried about his hair.
The cap came off....and stayed off....more and more often.

It didn't seem quite as important....
when you weighed it against losing a Nana.

On the night of Zachary's 5th grade graduation,
while the other 5th graders were celebrating,
rejoicing, and being recognized by their families,
our little 5th grader was in the back seat of our car...
his dearest and best friend by his side....
on I-75 headed north for Dayton, Ohio.
It was imperative we get there that night.

For the very next morning....was his Nana's funeral.

I remember looking at the clock in the car around the time
they were wrapping up the end-of-the-year celebration.
We were driving through downtown Cincinnati....600 miles away.
I remember crying....
thinking how much Mom was looking forward to that evening.
She was so proud of Zach.
She loved him so much.
She had been there for every, single important moment of his life so far.

We would never have dreamed that night would turn out so different from our plans.

It's funny how something that seemed so dreadful to me, only a short time before,
now seemed so insignificant.
And though I still felt bad for what I had done to Zachary's hair,
and it did cross my mind that he may feel embarrassed the following day,
it was no longer bothering him at all.

It was small stuff....
compared to losing his Nana.
The following morning,
he sat beside Kevin and me on the front row of the funeral chapel,
his faithful best friend, Jonathan, on his other side,
and he cried....almost the entire service.

Kevin commented later that he didn't think he had ever seen anyone cry that hard....
for that long.

The chapel was crowded.
Seated on the front row, lots of people could see the back of his head.
His hair was the farthest thing from his mind.
What had seemed so huge....so monumental....
now didn't even matter to him.
At all.

It really got me to thinking.
Isn't that true with a lot of things in life?

We worry.
We stress.
We obsess.
Over things that, in the long-run,
in the grand-scheme of life,
really don't amount to much...at all.

Losing someone you love so dearly, so deeply,
is a real wake-up call to reality.
It kind of forces you to put things in their proper perspective.
To see and be reminded of what is really important in life.

Zachary's hair grew back....just fine.
You could examine it ever so closely today,
and I can guarantee that you would never be able to identify
the spot....where I made my dreaded mistake.

His Nana is gone.
She won't be coming back.
What a big difference...
what stark opposites....
these two situations.

Hair grows back.
Almost every thing in this life can be fixed, mended, repaired.....replaced.
People cannot be replaced.
No matter how many tears we cry,
or how hard we question.

The other day, we sat at our kitchen table eating breakfast.
Kevin was worried about all of the things he needs to do.
His plate is full.
Zachary was stressed about a situation that was bothering him.
He had valid reasons.

I sat there and I listened to both of them talk.

My heart was aching....missing Mom.

I stopped them both,
and I gently reminded them that life is short,
to enjoy the journey,
and not to sweat the small stuff.

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