I’ve been cutting my own hair for two years now. No more scheduling appointments. No more waiting in line for the barber who actually knows how to cut hair. No more walking into a salon and being asked if I’d like to try highlights to disguise my ever spreading “distinguished” locks of gray.
I just plug in the clippers, slap on the #2 guard, and go for it. #1 got me in trouble once:( but she forgave me.
The one thing I do miss about going to a barber is getting my neck shaved.
I remember sitting for years as a kid, waiting patiently for the walk-ins welcome line to dwindle. Waiting ever so impatiently to get my turn, while reading fishing magazines. I was quite oblivious to the conversations of sports, work, or projects. My own little world was a nice place to be. However, there was one part of the haircut routine that mesmerized me every time….. watching as men had a straight razor taken to their necks.
This part of the grooming of a man was both dangerous and compelling at the same time. I grew up watching my dad shave with safety razors, like most men today. Blades like the ones wielded by a barber are not safe. They appeared to be razor sharp and reminded my youth eyes like the drywall knives that were around the garage. Good for cutting wall board, insulation off of wiring, hoses for your fuel line, and the occasional piece of rope. But to cut tiny hairs for the back of one’s head…. that seemed barbaric and awesome!!
I always wondered what that would feel like, and longed for the day when I would almost have my neck sliced open by my friendly neighborhood barber.
Then one day it happened. My hair was sufficiently cut, and I was awaiting the standard brushing off of hair that was part of the ritual. But it didn’t happen.
The scissors were put away.
The thin, useless version of a x-ray shield covering my chest like a was ever so slightly pulled down.
The sound of a machine making magic behind me, as it warmed up the shaving cream.
The feeling of a warm pillow being spread across my neck and behind my ears.
The action of the razor being drawn back and forth across the strap to give in a fresh edge.
The moment when that razor slid across my neck.
The creation of the smoothest space of skin since being a newborn.
In that moment……. I became a Man
This may all seem a bit silly, but just the other day, these thoughts flooded back to me. Eli is between haircuts and Amber noticed quite a patch of hair growing on his neck, just below the hairline. She was combing his hair for school, and asked me to get my beard trimmers to handle the situation.
I was giddy
My boy is growing more and more into a man. It seems like each day he exhibits more maturity, and his heart is filled with empathy for those around him. I’m not sure what God has in store for him, but I do believe it will involve helping others.
Eli’s neck hair milestone of manliness didn’t involve the slow anticipation that I encountered. However, I continue to be intentional in creating manly milestones in his life. I want him to understand that life isn’t about being a child . That there is a natural order to growth and growing. Too many boys are merely growing into larger boys who can shave. They may have jobs, wives, and kids, but they act like children.
One of my roles in Eli’s life is help him in his journey towards embracing the story of God and finding his role in it. Sometimes it looks like telling him to be the man of the house when I go out of town. Sometimes it’s letting him climb a ladder onto the roof with me. Sometimes it’s him seeing me love his mother with all my heart. Sometimes it’s getting him a swiss army knife. Sometimes it’s taking him along with me to visit someone in the hospital. Sometimes it’s a boys only road trip to the slopes. Sometimes it’s conversations about sin while driving home from school. Sometimes it’s firmly explaining to him why we don’t wrestle with girls like they are boys. Sometimes it’s correcting him in his behavior. Sometimes it’s praising him for his behavior.
Always….. it’s about showing him how much I love him and that it pales in comparison to how much Jesus loves him.
As a father, I have only a limited time of influence in Eli’s life. I must make the most of each moment. What else would I spend my life doing…… some selfish hobby?
Excuse me….. I need to go buy a razor and a shaving cream warmer:)