I gave Matilda her first haircut over the weekend. It was only a snip to even things out in the back, but as I held her curls in my hand I could not help but cry. This little tuft of hair that I now held in my hand was with her as she entered the world. It stayed tucked safe in the back when sickness took all her other hair away. And it held tight after her transplant, this one little patch right on the back of her head. It has been with her through everything and now it is gone.
But you see, it is not really about the hair. It is about that feeling, that feeling that we hold onto as mothers, as parents. That feeling that we bring these perfect little things into the world. Into this not so perfect world. And that feeling that we expose them to things hoping they are the best things. Hoping that we are enhancing their perfect, not spoiling it with imperfection. That feeling that we sometimes fall short and they slip and scrape their knee or form an ignorant opinion or learn to love sugar more than nutrition.
It is that feeling that I just lost a piece of that perfect and sweet baby born into my arms. And, I can't put it back. I can't tape it back on. I can only move forward.
Matilda was full of joy as she always is. She wanted a cut just like her brother and papa had earlier that day. She was proud. She was excited. She was perfect. And as tears dripped uncontrollably while I cleaned up the mess, she hopped over to me and held my face with both her little hands, looked me right in the eyes, and for the first time ever she said, "Love you, Mama."
I would trade a snip of hair to hear that any day.