The Simplest Part Of Me
by Sarena James
Sometimes I wonder what my son sees in me when our eyes meet, and he smiles his dimpled-smile. I wonder what role I play in his moments of everyday happiness.
I know he likes mommy’s spaghetti with untraceable amounts of fresh spinach; if he knew it was in there, he wouldn’t eat it. I know he likes our less than choreographed dances to Marvin Gaye’s, Pride and Joy.
I know he likes Mommy’s deep hugs even though they are frequent and perhaps last too long. But today the very sight of me brought tears to his eyes…
Admittedly, I looked nothing like I did this morning when Grant boarded the bus and waved bye-bye. Something had happened, some sort of transformation had taken place, and he knew it. He started crying, crying hard, and then came the piercing sound of his scream. Immediately I searched for a note from his teacher that would clue me in to the type of day he’d had at school. There was nothing; nothing but cries every time he looked at me.
Raphael and I sat completely baffled. Does his tummy ache? Is something too loud? Is he thirsty? Did something frighten him on the way home? For nearly fifteen minutes his cries controlled our thoughts until his trapped words broke free, “Mommy’s hair.”
I had spent a portion of my morning at the hair salon. There I relaxed to the scent of a coconut conditioner and surrendered to the massage of a cleansing shampoo. On a whim I decided to change something about my look, nothing drastic like cuts or colors, but a little something subtle to sweeten my day. My hair wasn’t straight anymore, it was loosely curled. My hair wasn’t parted on the normal right, but the left. There stood my son, sorting through the details of his mommy’s new look; undoubtedly, trying to determine what it all meant, if anything at all.
We warmly welcomed his words and encouraged him to keep talking. “Kuh”, was the next sound we heard from him. We voiced every word we could think of that started with that syllable and then came the word, “comb”. Grant’s eyes lit up, and his absent smile returned. Our youngest daughter found the large black comb in the bathroom and handed it to her brother. Instead of parting it on the left, he parted it on the normal right, gradually combing through every curl. “Comb Mommy’s hair!”
Awe-mazing! There it was; a complete sentence. This being the second time speech surfaced through his emotional conflict.
I lost any reminder of the hairstyle I left the salon with, but I gained yet another peek into his world. Sometimes change that’s unexpected is difficult to process, no matter how big or small. Although my new look was becoming, letting him comb through my hair was more beautiful; it was a connection birthed from his vocal explanation. He made every effort to communicate his feelings, and it worked. Next month I plan to get the big curls again and the part on the left and together we’ll both get used to it; together we’ll change what’s normal, combing through the details.
As life would have it, Grant has become a five-year-old teacher. He teaches Understanding, Perspective, and Sensitivity. In the end what brought us apart, brought us together even more.