The Truth About Being Hot-Headed

It is an hour and eight days past my bedtime. This time-change has messed me up, once again. Guess what, presidential candidates? You can get rid of daylight saving! I’m just saying…

The other night, I made a big decision. It was a hard decision, but it had to be made. As a mother, I always seek what’s best for my children. I had to bite the bullet… and cut Little Man’s hair.

Spoiler alert if you’ve never seen the movie (but seriously, where have you been hiding?). Remember in Napolean Dynamite, when Pedro sweats constantly because he has all that hair on his head? Little Man was having some serious Pedro days. If anyone or anything came within inches of his head, he would start to pour sweat. He was a radiator with those little curls. We also – well, someone, maybe once – clipped his hearing aids in his hair.

As hard a decision as it was to make, we had to cut his hair.

Curls one minute… buzz cut the next.

Actually, that’s a lie. It was curls one minute, flailing arms and screams the next several (several) minutes, a few buzzes here and there in the meantime, and then a final haircut with curls in a pile on the floor.

We tried to ease our way into it. We brought him to the bathroom, promising his favorite thing: bath. But first, we had to take care of hair. We took care of Daddy’s hair first. We let Little Man hold the clippers while they were off, and while they were on. We let him hold the #5 guard. Then, after we thought he was still happy and content with everything, we put the clippers to his head.

And all hell broke loose in our bathroom.

This right here – this is the moment captured when he was swinging open-palmed punches at me, screaming, “No way! No way!” So of course… we had to take a picture.

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I think I got most of the back of his hair done before we had to switch tactics. Hubs took over and Little Man clung to me with an absolute death grip, not letting go of my neck for anything. He went from assaulting me, to begging me in his own 22-month-old fashion, to save his life.

When Little Man’s fits continued as intensely as they had begun, Brent turned to me at one point and asked, “Is this how alien abduction stories come to be? They’re just poor recollections of first haircuts?” It was traumatic. To be sure.

After what took way longer than we ever imagined it would to cut his hair, I swept up my sweet little boy’s curls into a dustpan and threw them in the trash. He had his bath and recovered quickly from what seemed like a life-altering trauma he had experienced only moments before. He’s a tough one, this kid.

After bath and pajamas, I walked around the corner to see Little Miss, her Daddy, and there – standing on his own two feet, looking at his haircut-studly-self in the mirror and brushing his teeth with his people, Little Man. He had aged five years and now he was brushing his teeth with his curl-less head, like we had not just had Wrestlemania on the bathroom floor an hour earlier.

Seeing him there, toothbrush in mouth, and buzzed head, I started crying. My little boy…. my baby…. so grown up.

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A few days after her little brother’s ordeal, in surprising Little Miss for her birthday coming up in a few days I took her to the salon for a haircut she has been begging for, for almost a year. I didn’t dare use the buzz-clippers on her, so was willing to pay our dear stylist to do the dirty work of a bob cut.

Not only was Little Miss exceptionally excited, but she also grew up right before my very eyes. I tried to playfully talk with her on the drive home about who wouldn’t recognize her, how we could surprise Daddy with her new look, and what all her friends would say when she got on the school bus tomorrow, but as I was smiling and playing along with her imaginative possibilities, a few tears rolled down my cheek.

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These kids… they’re growing up. And there are days I pray for bedtime to come hours before it’s due. And there are days I take a really long time going to the bathroom, just so I can have a moment to myself. And there are days I bust out the “hallelujah!”s when Brent walks in the door after work. But there are also these moments when I wonder what happened to my babies, and who these smart, witty, sassy, incredibly genuine little people are who have stolen my heart.

It started out as a mission to get our son to stop sweating every time he turned around, but it ended up as yet another heart-wrenching lesson about the passage of time. Every moment matters…. because sometimes, all you get is that little moment. I don’t love that my son tried to karate chop my head, but in the next instant when he was trusting me with his life and gripping my neck like it was a life raft in the sea of electric clippers, I could have sat there holding his terrified self all night.

Earlier, when Little Miss came and snuggled with me on the sofa, curling up into my lap as tightly as she could, I was content to sit there as long as possible while her bony little buns carved canyons into my femurs.

It was so much more than just a haircut for him, or a haircut for her. These are memories being etched into our life’s journey as parents of some pretty special kids.

Making Moments Count: A Manifesto

MakingMomentsCount-A Manifesto

Prior to 2013, I thought I had life figured out. My marriage had overcome some serious obstacles, our oldest daughter had overcome her dramatic entrance into the world two months prematurely, I was (slowly) climbing the corporate ladder, building skills and leadership capabilities, and knew our life was headed toward a picture-perfect happy ending.

Then in April of 2013, our second daughter was stillborn.

No warning. No idea. No explanation. No realization it was possible.

Everything I thought I knew became obsolete and our priorities, dreams, and desires took a dramatic shift.

I quickly realized I didn’t have much of anything figured out and in reality, was barely getting by. I thought I was successful, but I had only fit into the corporate mold others had created for me. I believed my marriage had overcome obstacles, but in hindsight, we had simply dismissed resolving them. I thought I had been working toward the life of my dreams, but instead, I had been working toward the fruition of someone else’s dreams for me.

It took the death of our daughter to make me realize my marriage, my relationship with Little Miss, and any relationship or successful venture I was working on building and maintaining, was a façade. I was ill-equipped to leave any lasting legacy because I believed I had reached my ceiling in my life’s potential.

And still, after my entire world had been turned upsidedown, I was expected to fit into the mold that had been created for me. Life was not certain or guaranteed, and what was supposed to be a celebratory season in our lives was wrought with tragedy and despair. When my world came crashing down, it exposed the weakest points of the foundation I had built my life upon. It also revealed, however, the ways I could strengthen and rebuild.

Life and its precious moments were too important. I realized – after intense mourning, continual grieving, and whole-hearted seeking – I hadn’t been living. None of us had been living. Our family was surviving. One grueling day at a time.

Some things got worse before they got better. I had to learn to fight for a better marriage, rather than accept fighting as the way to be married. I understood my husband and our relationship was the foundation of our family, and of our future. If our relationship was broken, so were the lives of our kids, the legacy of our stillborn daughter, and the promises we vowed to one another when we said, “I do.”

I realized if I claimed to believe God is the giver of life, I needed to start living as such. If I wanted to get anything out of the life He could make possible for me, I had to start investing in it. I might not have the chance to do what made me happy later on – as “later on” may never come.

It became my mission and passion, then, to guide others in seeking and finding the life they were designed to live, embracing the freedom that comes from fulfilling our calling, and making each moment count. I want to equip others to make moments count in the ways I never realized they could. I want to help pave the way for strong marriages, strong families, and stronger faith.

This is what I write. This is how I teach. This is why I’m making moments count.

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