I remember the day oh so well. It was some time in mid-to-late April, so about 10 years ago in 2020 time. The shock of being shut down had worn off a bit, and the fear we may run out of toilet paper had subsided.
My husband and I were both working from home this particular day and both of our kids had had a “good day” with their virtual learning. My son had spent several hours riding his bike with his “biker gang,” a group of tough third-to-fifth-grade neighborhood rapscallions who had dubbed themselves The Bikerz.
My husband and I both remarked they had logged so many hours on those bikes it reminded us of our own ’80s childhoods. My beloved turquoise blue Western Flyer with a white flower on the seat must have traveled up and down Cherry Avenue a hundred times a day during the summer.
After his gang duties were done for the day, my son and I walked the dog down to the park at the back of our neighborhood, chatting about school, The Bikerz and the pandemic and if he was feeling OK about everything.
As we were watching the dog unsuccessfully try to rid the area of all squirrels, he said, “Mom, let me show you how I can climb this tree.” And he did, and I snapped a cute photo. One of my all-time favorites of him.
And I was so grateful for that moment. As the world was seemingly spiraling out of control around us, this kid was hanging upside down from a tree without a care in the world. As it should be.
As much as I hated all COVID-19 had done to our country — and the lives and livelihoods it had already destroyed — there were some silver linings.
Even though I would never want another shutdown, I knew all of the extra time we were getting to spend with our kids was a rare gift.
They aren’t going to want to hang out with us in a few more years, and it was nice.
Sure, there were challenging days too, of course, but we are both working parents and our kids have been in daycare or school since they were 6 weeks old, and we had never had so much time with them. I certainly hadn’t since maternity leave, and they really didn’t have much to say then.
With most extracurricular activities and everything else canceled for a while as well, the pace of our lives definitely slowed.
And in some ways it was glorious.
With this newfound love of simpler living, I declared, “You know, when things do get back to normal, we are not going to get back into the grind of having to do something almost every single night and on most weekends. We’re just not going to do it!”
Fast forward six months (50 years in 2020 time). And bahahahahahahahahaha!
All of early pandemic, optimistic Ashley’s dreams for simpler living have been shattered.
Slowly but surely, our nights and weekends filled right back up to pre-COVID levels with the kids’ activities. And with that, our stress levels went higher than pre-pandemic levels because now we have schedules and “super-spreader events” to worry about.
Running around every morning trying to make sure clothes for various practices were clean and packed while searching for tennis shoes under beds (and outside under the trampoline) felt so 2019.
The stress reached a fever pitch earlier this week in what we will call the “Not-So-Great Haircut Meltdown of 2020.”
My son desperately needed a haircut. We had been trying for the last week to get him in his usual walk-in place, but they were pretty booked up.
But on Monday, before he went to his first of two after-school activities, we had a window to get it done. My husband was working from home that afternoon, so he was going to take him and sit in the car with his laptop and hotspot while the boy’s mane was tamed. Then he was dropping him off at Activity #1 and I was picking him up and taking him to Activity #2 so my husband could go to a meeting he had to attend. And then he was picking him up so I could get Child #2 fed and to bed.
I thought all was well until I got the phone call from my husband as he dropped him off.
“Just so you know, he doesn’t like his haircut,” my husband said.
I questioned which one of the stylists he had gotten, as I had told him which one to request, and she usually does a great job.
“Well, I just didn’t have time to take him all the way out there, so I had to take him to ….”
“Oh my god,” I interrupted. “You took him to [expletive place I won’t name]?! I told you, you can’t go there — ever! The only time I ever took him there, I immediately had to take him to my salon so they could fix the butcher job they did on him! There are literally thousands of memes out there with terrible [expletive] haircuts making fun of that place. How do you not know this?”
I really don’t think I have wanted to murder my husband as much as I did for this egregious, capital hair offense. And it’s not because hair doesn’t grow back or life wouldn’t go on. I knew it would be fine. I just really didn’t know when we were going to have time again to go get it fixed.
And I started crying. Not over hair, but time. Or lack thereof.
I pulled up to pick him up from Activity #1 and he was sporting a baseball cap, which he doesn’t usually wear.
I could tell he was not happy as I drove him to Activity #2.
“Dad said you don’t like your haircut,” I asked delicately. “You know we can get it fixed.”
“I will never go to that place again! (No, no you will not.) I’ll just grow a mullet! (No, no you will not.)”
He didn’t let me look until the next morning.
And let’s just say … it was definitely not good, but fixable. I am not even sure how the “stylist” managed to do what she did, but all along his forehead, it looked like a frayed ribbon.
I got the kitchen scissors and carefully trimmed it up, and while it still wasn’t his best cut, it looked just fine.
Crisis averted. No mullet needed, but maybe just a night off instead.
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