I have spent the weekend rearranging and changing rooms, it was a fairly big task to take on especially given that neither my husband or eldest son like change but after a rocky start and lots of tears I think everyone is happier. It was possibly not the smartest choice given that the end of the financial year is literally days away and the office now has large piles of books and papers to sort through before I can even start working but at least they are in neat piles and the house is finally how I wanted it in the first place.
While sorting through the Munchkins room I found an old back pack full of shoes including the very first pair of shoes that my eldest son ever had. It’s not the first time I have reconnected with these shoes but today they made more impact I suppose as it brought back so many memories. It is hard to imagine that my now 6’3″ son was ever that small, the shoes seem so tiny but for his age, he was 14 months at the time, they were considered big. Those size 5 feet have grown into size fourteen and my little boy is fast becoming a man and needing to shave.
So far the teenage experience is a challenging one, sensitive, intense and emotional as a young child everything seems magnified. He can be gentle one minute and explosive the next. He rarely seems to speak but rather shouts and his constant questions to which are generally completely random but require highly specific answers have now turned into questions I am incapable of answering. Like what is one billion, gazillion, million to the power of 4 “or If the world ended tomorrow and we travelled to the moon would we still eat cheese”. He doesn’t like to be hugged but loves to hug me only he tends to grab me from behind and choke me and hasn’t realised that he is equally as strong as he is tall and that it often hurts me. We seem to clash a lot so when a magical moment happens they are precious and special treasures. Tonight was one of those occasions because I taught my son to shave.
It might seem such a simple thing to others but it means so much to me on many levels. Shaving someone is an intimate experience and this initation was one I never expected to be involved in. I assumed it was the fathers role and in fact expected it. His father and I had discussed it several times, I even arranged for Grandpa to be a back up, unfortunately his father isn’t so good with these kind of moments he is not comfortable with such things and as Zee had been hinting of sorts at the shaving thing I got that he was finally ready.
For several months I have curbed the desire to pluck those little hairs out while he was sleeping, they taunted me daily but in the last few weeks the two little hairs mated and suddenly there was a family of them growing under his chin. I was beginning to see visions of Captain Sparrow and his plaited beard before me. Does it really grow that quickly and will his worst fears be realised once he starts to shave and it become a daily occurrence? These are things I cannot answer but I am simply grateful that my son was willing to share this ritual with me.
So there we were, warm water in the sink, face lathered and razor in hand, we were both a little nervous. I used to watch Queer Eye for the Straight Guy and paid particular attention to the grooming segment, (maybe I knew I would need this information later), so I felt comfortable with my knowledge regarding beard shaving technique but it is a different thing in reality and the thought of my son having blood gushing from his neck was a little intimidating. I calmed myself down as I realised that his choice of razor had managed to do a very good job on my legs over the years so they couldn’t be that dangerous.
Five minutes later the job was complete, perhaps not the smoothest job possible but I wanted him to understand the feel of the razor against his skin and the contours of his face and next time we can start to tackle the dark shadows appearing on his upper lip.
When I look back over the past 14 years I feel blessed to have been part of so many firsts, for the most part it was just the two of us sharing them together; his first feed, first bath, his first steps, first word, first tooth and the first tooth fairy, even his first day of school and so it seems fitting that I was allowed access to this manly passage. I am especially honoured given that the permission came from my child who rarely lets me in on an intimate level. He shares little of his thoughts or feelings and I really got that he was ready to shave and was scared and wanted me to be there.
Hopefully there will be many more milestones and firsts for my son but my days of being part of them are likely numbered but for now I am honoured and doing a little happy dance that even though he is growing up so quickly, when life really matters to him he still wants me to be a part of it.