Sam has not had many "real" haircuts in his short lifetime. Usually, I notice him peering out from underneath a mass of blonde bangs, stick him in front of the tv , and hack away at his hair until his eyes become visible once again. Today, however, I had time to stop in at the local hairdressing shop and book him in for a haircut that doesn't look like he's been put under the lawn mower. It became immediately apparent that Sam equated the hairddresser's chair with the dentist and the medical laboratory. He cried and cried and tried to curl up into a ball to escape the scissors and electric razor. We pulled our best tricks out of our bags- me, the victem hair-cutter, and the stylist behind her. We chatted about the interesting figures on his plastic cape, the candy we would feed him if he sat nicely, and the little children across the street on thier way to the park. Outside, his big brother zoomed left and right past the window wearing his ski mask against the November chill; reaching new speeds on the scooter thanks to the accelerating effects of the wheelchair ramp. Even our efforts to point out his favourite big brother's antics refused to stop Sam's river of tears.
Finally the hair was cut. I made my rounds apologizing to all the customers who"d had to put up with the wailing and drama, and made my way to jackets and home. By this point, big brother Micah had come into the shop and was guiding Sammy's hand to turn the wheel of the tantalizing candy dispenser that mommy always refused to feed quarters into.
Micah had observed that his brother was not exactly getting the whole "spa thing". That all Micah's efforts to distract him with speedy scooter-ing had been in vain. So, he'd raced home, gone upstairs to get into his allowance stash for some quarters, then speeded back to the salon on his bicycle. He'd been sure to hurry so as to get back in time to reward his little brother for surviving the haircut. Sammy quickly changed his tune, stuffing yellow and green peanut M&M's into his mouth, and with a friendly "Whaddya say?" from Micah, even remembered to shout a grateful "Thank you!"
I'm sure Sammy thinks of his big brother as a bit of a hero, but I think it will be many years before he remembers and becomes fullly aware of just what a hero his brother really is.
And I've got to say, I'm feeling a little starry-eyed myself.