I vowed long before I ever had children that I would never be one of those overly sentimental mothers. You know the kind. The ones that make keepsakes out of their children’s teeth and first baby curls, like some sort of socially acceptable child body part hoarder. The ones who cry at their kid’s kindergarten graduation ceremony (like that’s actually a thing, an actual important event). The ones who “ohh” and “ahh” and frame little junior’s drawing of a green horse that looks, let’s be honest, like a nauseous Jabba the Hutt.
But not me. Nope. I mean, come on. The whole POINT of having children is to raise them, to turn them into fully functioning adults who can wipe their own boogers and climb off the couch in a manner that doesn’t resemble a sky diving incident gone horribly wrong. Not keep them in some sort of infantile limbo. Hell, my son is currently too young to even understand, let alone say, “Mom, come wipe my butt” and already I’m looking forward to the day I never have to hear that sentence ever again.
You knew there was an “and then” coming, didn’t you? Of course you did. You’re not an idiot like I am.
And then my son needed a haircut. His first. Too many “what an adorable little girl!” comments from other people and too many “stop sucking on your bangs” reprimands from me finally pushed my hand. Not that I was putting off his first haircut or anything.
That would be too sentimental.
I waited until the morning of the day he was going to have his pictures taken by my photographer cousin. Not that I was waiting until the last possible moment or anything.
That would also be too sentimental.
It just, uh, happened to work out that way. And don’t you dare think for one second that me scheduling the hair appointment to coincide with a trip to visit family in my hometown in Ohio (800 miles from my current home in Boston) just so my high school friend would be the one to cut Riker’s hair had anything to do with sentimentality. It didn’t, ok? It didn’t.
It was simply because I couldn’t stand the thought of some stranger’s dirty, disgusting hands pawing through my baby’s pristine ginger curls and heartlessly chopping them off like they DIDN’T EVEN MATTER. Like they weren’t made from the most precious stuff ON EARTH.
And yes, I’m sure that the fact that I asked Samantha if she could cut me off just ONE of his curls as a keepsake looks, from the outside, like a sentimental request. But I was just being practical. In case, you know, something, god forbid, ever happened to Riker and we needed a sample of his DNA to give to a mad scientist who would then use it to create Riker’s identical clone.
And sure, then asking her to cut off another keepsake curl might seem a bit ridiculous, but hey, you never know. Something could always happen to Riker’s clone and it’s always good to have a backup-backup plan.
And ok, FINE! Perhaps asking for that third curl to also be cut and gingerly wrapped up in plastic was overkill. But what if, I don’t know, a fire destroyed the first curl and then a plague of baby hair-eating locusts destroys the second one? What then, huh? Am I still being overly sentimental? Or just incredibly reasonable and forward-thinking?
So, plainly, as you can see, I have kept to that vow I made long ago to never be one of those overly sentimental parents. Even now, with my baby’s new haircut making him look 37 and the fact that I can’t remember the last time he fell asleep on my chest and tomorrow he’ll be leaving for college and he’ll never call me and then he’ll move away and I’ll never see him and then he’ll have his own kids but be too busy to come visit because the office is undergoing a regime change but maybe next year, Mom, and cat’s in the cradle and some junk about a silver spoon or something…
And all of that will be just fine by me.
I have my shrine of three baby curls, two dozen or so teeth and that damned ugly Jabba horse to keep me company.