Until you’ve heard the words,
“Mommmmm! Josiah put hair removal creme all over his hair!”.
You read that correctly.
My ten year old son rubbed, not one, but two applications of hair removal creme into his beautiful sandy brown hair.
When his sister got married, she and her bridesmaids were primping and beautifying every inch of skin, and this tiny tube is the only trace of evidence that my home was “Spa for a Day”, last July.
But I’m not thinking of that happy morning right now.
Right now, I am running toward the bathroom and yelling,
“What?!? What did you just say?!?”
That was my calm, cool, and collected response to the 16 year old, also known as, “The Informer”, thank goodness.
I rush in, trying to remain calm, picturing clumps of hair falling out of my son’s scalp until he looks like a like a flea-infested mangey stray, while I try to calm down.
But I feel it.
I feel panic rise within me, not for his hair…that stuff grows back, but for his eyes.
I call him into the bathroom.
“Do you know what you’ve done?
Do you understand the gravity of this situation?”
I feel the screamer inside of me begging to be let out of the dungeon I’ve banished her to.
I feel tension in my voice.
I am at war with the old me I left behind so long ago.
Fear and incredulity have joined hands and they are racing through my mind like it’s their amusement park.
“Hurry, Alma, hurry!”, I silently urge.
“Just strip. Strip out of everything.”, I tell my son.
Reach for a washcloth so he can cover his developing body – preserve his dignity,
Turn on the water – get it warm but not hot,
Reach for a towel to cover his eyes…
“Step in. Turn around. Sit. Scootch forward. I have to rinse right away. Lie back. Cover your body. Do. not. open. your. eyes.”
I am in a hurry but I am not yelling and this is a good thing.
I am relaying the danger into which he placed himself.
I am wondering what type of discipline this will merit.
He is ten, after all.
He knew what he was doing.
I rinse and apply shampoo – then repeat,
watching for strands of hair to break free.
None break free.
Silent prayers sent heavenward, “Thank God.”.
We finish and he steps out.
I wrap his body in a towel and tell him he was fortunate. Very.
I make small talk. “You know, when you wash your hair you need to focus right here…” to calm the situation.
All is well.
No one lost their temper.
No one was belittled or humiliated.
Every one is okay.
I remember in the Bible when Adam and Eve blew it.
When Cain killed Abel.
I think of God and his reactions.
“Adam, where are you?”
“Cain, where is your brother?”
The perfect Father did not rant and rave and scream, even when very bad things happened.
I can almost hear the quiet sighs of resignation and disappointment, though.
And he disciplined.
But he didn’t withhold himself from his creation.
I try to model my parenting after the Lord’s.
Children know when they’ve done wrong.
No lecture necessary, the learning happens in their hearts when the actions have come to light.
My son is okay.
He’s in trouble, but he’s okay.
We’ve lived through another adventure.
And no one is worse for the wear.
Except, perhaps, for my hair.
I may have a few more grays.
Peace to you.