Previous Challenge Entry (Level 4 – Masters)
Topic: Hair (07/04/19)
- TITLE: Where are the Zizzors?
By Robin Newberger
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My boy doesn’t like change. Schedules, predictability, knowing what to expect, these are the buoys that steady him in this world of constant flux. Daniel has his world down pat. He wakes at 7:00, leaves for school at 7:45. The mailman comes around 3:00. The garbage man comes on Mondays, trucks 210 and 226. Our neighbor leaves for work at 6:10 every morning and carpools on Tuesdays and Fridays only in an orange VW Beetle with his coworker. Mom buys only Dole mandarin oranges, Ragu brand marinara, smooth peanut butter and seedless strawberry jam. Any divergence from the status quo brings on waves of questions and anxiety. This is our routine. Predictable. And then came the hair.
The leg hair came first, darker brown hair replacing the blond ones. Not one hair got past him. He identified each new one with a furrowed brow and slight consternation. Daily armpit checks followed. He found no offenders, much to his relief — yet.
Late one afternoon, wrist-deep in dishwater suds, my son’s voice called out to me from the bathroom, snapping me out of my torpid state, summoning me to the bathroom.
“I’m doing the dishes right now. Hold on!”
Entering the bathroom, I find my robust ten-year-old sitting on the porcelain throne, au naturel, as is his usual practice. He wasted no time with his inquiry. He was incredulous.
“Mommy, why do I have these hairs?”
Swallowing hard, I turned my attention to the innocent self-examination of his down-belows. There before me was the faintest proof that my special son had crossed the threshold toward adolescence. I responded with assurance, masking my near disbelief.
“You’re…growing. It’s normal. Your body is supposed to do this.”
His response was swift and direct.
“I don’t like them. They’re bothering me! Can you cut them off with the zizzors?
“Honey, there’s only two. And they’re going to come back.”
He looked up at me with his beautiful bottle-green eyes.
“Am — am I still a kid?”
So this was the crux of the issue. It wasn’t so much that his body was changing, although it was certainly alarming to him, it was far more than that. These physical changes scare him terribly. Being a grown-up scares him. Growing out of his clothes at an alarming rate scares him. But not having me? That is absolutely terrifying. More than a buoy, I am his safe harbor.
We don’t talk about it, but he figured it out. He has a profound understanding of the passage of time. He gets it. I wasn’t ready for that either. How do I tell him that my fears are the same, even greater? How do I tell him that he’ll be okay when I don’t know that for sure? Life isn’t always okay. How can I tell him that I want to walk every day of his life with him to make sure he’s safe? The answer isn’t found in a search engine.
“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” Jeremiah 29:11
Not long after the “hair conversation,” Daniel climbed into bed with me. Nestling under the down comforter, he shimmied up against me and nestled himself into the crook of my arm. His sweet doe-like eyes reflected pure love when he gazed up at me.
“I love you, Mom. I love you so much. I want you to live forever.”
Daniel turned and looked at me, his eyes alighting upon my long brown hair. His little-boy hand reached out and touched it, and he smiled, enamored.
“We will,” I said.
We settled into this blissful, safe place for awhile and he looked up at me one more time as he fingered his upper lip.
“Mom? Am I growing a beard?”
“No,” I said. “You’re still a kid.”
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