We took the boys to get haircuts Monday night to make sure they looked wedding-ready. When we walked up to the entrance of Great Clips I could see right away there was a crowd. More of a crowd than I was willing to wait behind. So I told the boys we’d have to come back some other time. We turned around and walked back to the car.
At the time I didn’t know just how silent that walk was.
We were all settled in when I noticed Ian was looking awfully dejected in the back seat. “What’s the matter”, I asked him. Then, like only Ian can, he unleashed a broken heart in a sea of tears that instantly flooded every chamber of toughness I pretend to house. As he fought through the sobs to tell me what was wrong, I couldn’t make out a single word. The best I could tell he was saying “I’m the saddest little boy in the world and nothing will ever, ever change that.”
With some mobile counseling, we got him to tell us just how much he wanted to get his hair cut. I was floored. I’d seen kids throw fits because they were going to get a haircut, Elliott, but never had I seen a heart ripped in two by the deprivation of one. So we immediately kicked in plan B. The good news is we have a one-plan-fits-all plan B that we whip out at the very hint of distress in our family. It’s probably more appropriately referred to as plan M. McDonalds. We told Ian we’d go get a quick bite to eat at Happy Meal’s home then go back to see if the line was gone.
I love you Ronald McDonald.
They ate. We went back. The line was gone.
When the young girl called Ian up to the chair for his turn under the scissors, those tears from earlier in the evening were as gone as an Arizona mud puddle. He leaped up in that chair with both the spirit and spring of a Michael Jordan dunk. I was beginning to think the boy had looked one too many times at my head of hair and realized his haircut days were numbered and should be cherished. I like you’re cherishing more than your crying, Ian.
“So what is Santa going to bring you for Christmas,” the girl asked him.
Oh great. Here we go. The dragon tale. Ian wants a dragon that spits fire for Christmas and loves telling anyone who will listen to him hoping they are somehow related to Santa.
“I want a lightsaber”, he said, “like the one in Angry Birds Star Wars.”
I hope you’re keeping up with this, Santa, because I can’t.
I know I’ve been focused on the real reason for the season. And although Santa isn’t that reason, he sure gets the kids excited. I think that’s meant to be. It was built in to capture even the youngest child’s wonder about the season. A wonder that will keep them exploring the magic of Christmas long after they realize chimneys are very narrow.