Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Baby Boy, Born With Curly Hair

Tomorrow I will go to my third 1st day of Kindergarten. On my first 1st day of Kindergarten I wore a corduroy jumper. On my second 1st day of Kindergarten I held the eager hand of a daughter who wanted to go to school the day she was born. And tomorrow I will go with her baby brother who jumps when he should be walking and can talk all day about the SR-71 Blackbird.

This morning, after we dropped of the sisters, I took Mister to his barber. He got a grade-A cut while he watched the movie Antz. Then he came with me to my office. It’s a fifteen-minute walk and we needed the time to go over an important Kindergarten detail: the question about hair.

He has the same teacher as the big sis and so I know that birthdays will be celebrated in the classroom with the Birthday Kid sharing a timeline they make at home with photos of important events from their little lives. The children will sit in a huddle. Birthday Boy will hold a beach ball globe and run around the group while everyone sings, “The earth goes around the sun, the earth goes around the sun, once every year.” And then Ms. Kindergarten will ask the important question: “When you were born, were you bald or did you have hair?”

I remember this from last time. I remember this because it sent a rod of electric yuck through my heart as I anticipated my baby boy standing in front of the class without a proper answer. I didn’t meet him until he was two years old. I don’t have any pictures of him before the day his head was shaved and his mug sent out into the paperwork world of second-chances.

So I have been thinking about this question as we have collected school supplies and filled out forms. Since I had him all to myself walking to campus this morning, I decided to bring up this all-important detail lest he be caught off guard by some September celebration. I told him about all the fun things he would get to do in Kindergarten on his birthday and mentioned The Question. He looked at me confidently and smiled, “I had hair.” “Oh, good,” I said. “I have been wondering all this time. I know I wasn’t there and we don’t have a picture, but your heart knows, so if your heart says you had hair then you did. What else does your heart remember?” He told me he didn’t remember much about being born since it was a long time ago. Then he added, “And I was born with my eyes open.”

I looked at Mister and smiled. And believed him.

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