Our favorite photo of our eldest son, aged 13 months, is the one where he is being propped up by his Dad after his first big boy haircut. Splendid moment shared with the gal who’s styled my husbands hair for over 10 years.
Too few years later, when my Mother wanted a shot of her grandkids, all of them together, one for her memory box. Off to KMart, all the kids posed for the camera. The photo of our youngest, just a baby, held by my niece is precious beyond belief. What a beautiful boy, and a striking young lady. My Mom was very pleased.
Our oldest, the one on the autism spectrum, only gave the photographer one shot. Still enveloped, in the basement are the copies – that shot reflects the painful truth – he was officially gone. His eyes reflected the void that consumed our beautiful boy. He checked out, only to return, on his own terms in small amounts over the many years up to now.
Turn on an electric razor, spray water on his head, talk too loud or fast while barbering the oldest triggered the panicked meltdown of the little boy who had lost all control of his environment. Sensory issues with kids on the autism spectrum impede their lives doing most or anything typical. Bath time, toilet training, brushing teeth, combing hair, all of it a living hell on their systems – and the family.
Enter Linda, my new friend and a shining light to our family circle. Linda and her husband Charlie, along with our friends Troy & Barb and (later) their kids all get together at our house every few weeks. We call the meetings “Haircut Parties”. Evolving from a tiny cry for help for my son to a new co-worker – I happened upon Linda professionally cutting hair of a salesman, in the service department of the Mercedes Benz dealership where we both worked. She happily agreed to be of help.
She came to our home. Rolled out her gear on the kitchen counter, pulled up the kitchen chair and invited our special needs son to jump up. She cooed, persisted, and ever so patiently worked her magic over him. She is one beautiful soul. Our boy liked her enough that night to accomplish the only other big boy haircut he’d had in over 2 years. Using only her scissors, it was with the patience and love he felt from her that got him to sit still long enough, to gain the trust of this stranger, letting her finish the job. Oh my, he looked very handsome – we quietly celebrated with smiles and a beer.
It’s been 12 years and we still meet – catching up for dinner and haircuts in our own timely manner. We’ve had several guests over the years, however, the core group remains. Charlie, Linda’s husband has become one of my husbands very closest friends. We all went through fertility treatments with Barb and Troy, their first blessed child that come along was Cole. The twins, Trent and Turner, arriving a little later to complete their family. Growing from babies to little boys. It has been exceptional to know them all.
I never know what to tell our friends to bring to share for haircut night dinners. The menu shifts from moment to moment, depending on what is happening in our lives the very day we scheduled the date. But the rule? It’s understood – come to our house, drop your stress at the door, pull up a chair, grab a drink, play with the kids, tease the dogs, and forget about everything else…we are here to celebrate. Celebrate the life we are living with special friends, good food, cold drinks and the knowledge that regardless of the rest, these moments – the fun and banter – really are what matters most in our world.
We honor you, Linda, Charlie, Troy, Barb and your boys……thanks for being our friends and understanding our beautiful boys. ~ Wendy Frye
“Don’t walk behind me; I may not lead. Don’t walk in front of me; I may not follow. Just walk beside me and be my friend.”