A long time ago, on a blog far, far away, I told a story about my wife, my oldest son, and a pair of scissors. It went something like this…
As we all know, home schooling is not easy. There are many sacrifices that we make in order to keep our children at home and teach them according to our values, our religious beliefs, and our educational philosophy. Most of us live off of one income. That’s a challenge. In order to live off of one income we do not have many of the “luxury” items that seem so prevalent in society. For some of us, basic necessities can be a challenge from month to month. So we drive older model cars that are a little banged-up, we don’t go to the movies very often, and dinners out are rare. A lot of our clothing comes from thrift stores. And in our house, my wife cuts our hair.
She has been cutting our hair for years. She’s cut mine as long as we’ve been together, and she’s good at it. If it were only my hair that she was cutting, everything would be fine. The problem comes when she has to cut the General Mayhem’s hair. Cutting the General’s hair is like hugging an eel.
On the patience scale, with "ten" being "Saintly" and "one" being a "Titan missile with a very short fuse," both the General and his mother are two’s. Hair cuts are generally long, loud, frustrating shouting matches.
“How much longer?”
“If you’d stop wiggling I’d have been done an hour ago!”
It got so bad that my wife, whom I cheekily refer to as “The Boss,” recently admitted that she hates cutting hair and doesn’t want to do it any longer. So I was more than surprised when she announced last night that she was cutting everyone’s hair. When she was finished cutting Major Havoc’s hair, the Boss called for General Mayhem.
I was shocked.
She didn’t get five seconds into wetting down his hair when the General began to wiggle and squirm, giggle and shake. The frustration level rose so quickly you’d have thought this was a continuation of the last hair cut six months previously.
“My shoulder itches.”
“Your shoulder always itches, now look up!”
“Can I go to the bathroom?”
And then came the comment that brought the haircut to a halt. After ten minutes of barking and snipping the General looked at his mother and said,
“My kidney itches!”
“That’s it! I don’t care how your hair looks. You’re done. Leave!”
She slammed her scissors on the table, muttering in disgust. Then she looked at me and asked, “Are you ready?”
“Me?” I gasped.
“Yes, you. You need a haircut.”
“You know, I think I’d rather have you cut my hair before you cut the General’s. Not after.”
“You know how to sit still. Come here!”
So I got my hair cut.
I only heard one “Oops,” and one “Oh, shoot!” and one “Now that side is too short!” in what was otherwise a pleasant moment between husband and wife. Finally, she put her instruments of follicle terror on the table and asked, “Does this feel even to you?”
I told her it was fine, and commenced sweeping up all of the hair clippings. And it is fine. If I tilt my head ever so slightly to the right my hair looks perfectly even.
Ah, the sacrifices we make to home school!
Now, I retold that story in order to tell you this one:
Saturday, I was dry walling the new bedroom in the basement. The house was quiet. I assumed that The Boss was harvesting her Australian Finger Lime on Farmville while the children played outside. As I carried an armload of supplies up the basement steps, I heard The Boss talking with General Mayhem. I almost dropped my load of materials when I turned the corner into the kitchen and discovered the General sitting in a chair while his mother cut his hair!
A haircut! With no arguing! With no yelling! A haircut with no itchy internal organs! It was so peaceful and pleasant I thought I was in the wrong house. It occurred to me at that moment that things do get better. The kids grow up. It's amazing.
We are starting to see signs that all our hard work is paying off.