Life Lessons Learned at the Barbershop
This past Saturday, I was sicker than a dog. Nasty cold, lost voice, just felt like crap. Yet, that doesn’t give me permission to not parent. There are too many humans that I have created that need a gentle shove and food. This day was no exception. Jude had 3 basketball games that day. He was playing in 2 games on the 7th-grade team. Thankfully, Big Daddy let me sleep in some and he went to those 2 games. I hustled around, got kids situated and I headed to the other game. He plays “up” and so he was also on the 8th-grade team. To add to the fun, I found a barbershop, local, that is run by some amazing African American men. These are the Life Lessons Learned at the Barbershop.
Be Prepared to Wait
We walked in and the men smiled and said “have a seat.” Well, there were no seats. There were 2 barbers and they each had a person in the chair. The couch was full of people waiting. This barbershop does not do appointments on Saturdays, only walk-ins. I learned that, that day. The best time to go, on a Saturday, is at 7:30 am. The lovely humans got closer together which allowed Jude and me to have a seat.
So. We sat.
Jude was tired and I tried to talk him into going to the van and napping while I waited. He didn’t want to do that. As I looked at him, he was taking it all in. You know, it probably is something to be raised by Caucasian people. His exposure to African American people are limited to 2 cousins, and 3 other students in the school. Occasionally, he will play a team with African American people on them, but even that is rare.
I heard him giggling when the barbers were giggling. We all were laughing. Talking about parenting, education, sports. He realized I was just like them, just a lighter version 🙂 The fascination in seeing the hairstyles was bringing joy to my heart. Honestly, he wanted to try them all.
It is NOT Just a Haircut
It is a cultural experience. They covered everything from food that they do and do not eat, as a whole (obviously there are exceptions). We covered Jesus, more food, education and the importance of it…then there are the do’s and don’ts of what is acceptable for Caucasian people versus African American people. That broke my heart. Maybe it is the realization that my son will likely not live in my house forever. Things will change and I’m not sure I want him away from me. Here, local, people know who he belongs too. They see my son and not the color of his skin.
I did learn that I need to tell any barber we choose, we have to tell him Jude has a magnet in his head. It has something to do with a magnetized cloth or maneuver that they use. Honestly, I think nothing of it, but when they saw his scar, they asked. I’m glad they did! He will always have to work around that scar. His hearing aid doesn’t stick when his hair is too long.
The Look of Shame
Jude was sitting in the chair, I looked at the men and said: “he has never been to a barber before.” I looked down and said I have cut his hair since he was 5. They asked how old he was and I said “13.” Everyone in that room stopped what they were doing and just looked at me. I said “I know, now, that as a white woman, I should never touch my son’s hair again. Promise I will never do it again.” Mr. Eye said, “the beginning to healing is admitting you have a problem and then not repeating that problem.” Then, there was the collective belly laugh from everyone, including me. Really, that statement made me realize that these are my people.
When Trell finished the haircut, he told Jude to keep on playing sports in that “white” school…let them get a taste of what a star he was. Then, I need to transfer him to Paducah Tilghman where the “brothers” play and that is where he will excel. I smiled and said we didn’t live in that area but my mom was a teacher at the middle school there. Mr. Trell looked at me and said “No way!” Who is your mom? I told him her name. He smiled from ear to ear and asked me if she was a fiery redhead! Yes, indeed she is. My mom was his homeroom teacher! What a small world. He excited to meet me and her grandson. Praises were thrown my way in what an amazing teacher she was. That warmed my heart.
I like these people. The place was clean and spacious. So many people all in the throes of life and doing the best they can! We will be back and I promise to never, ever, ever cut Jude’s hair again. I have learned my lesson and I have seen greatness in a person’s craft. Jude seeing good men, who love Jesus, loves their family, running a successful business, and being men of color is just what my son needs in his life.
God is good!