Linda Delaney and Jane Daffron
The squalling child was led to the chair, large tears rolling down his round face. The blue eyes were brimming with fear as he saw the man in the white jacket pick up the sharp instrument and turn toward him.
"NO, POPPA! NO, MOMMA! DON'T WANNA!"
The mother stood there, steeling herself against her child's cries, her eyes glistening as she remembered another day like this so very long ago. Trying to control her voice, she slowly but gently said, "It's ok, sweetheart. It's ok. The nice man's not going to hurt you. I promise." She reached out to touch the three-year-old to try and reassure him, his tiny, round fingers clutching at her hand, squeezing tightly.
"MOMMA! I DON'T WANNA..."
"Shhh," she cooed. "It'll be over quickly. I promise you, honey, it won't hurt. It won't hurt at all. After all, Poppa and I have it done all the time. It's ok...really."
He calmed a bit, and became very quiet, the tears continuing to roll down his cheek. The balding man leaned over the little boy and swiveled the chair slightly. The boy's father stood in the doorway, watching quietly but solemnly as the mother moved to his side. Laying her head slightly on his khaki covered shoulder, she felt a tear slide down, staining the fabric. "Poor baby...he's so scared..." she whispered.
The man in khaki patted her hand absently, "He'll be fine. There's a first time for everything." He turned and kissed his wife on the forehead. "It's you that's having a harder time than he is. Seems to me you've been through this before."
"Yeah, but...I didn't have such a hard time with her. She really didn't have that much. Didn't you hear the fear in his voice?"
"And who put it there? Not I!" he whispered in a bit of a half grin. Then in a reassuring tone, "He'll do fine."
They both looked over to the little boy as he suddenly giggled. Covered by a too large piece of fabric, tied around his neck, he had seen himself in the mirror and was now laughing. Slowly, red curls fell onto the snowy fabric as the barber talked to the little boy and made his rears and tears subside. Mother and father watched as the tension lifted and they breathed a sigh of relief. They too began to laugh, as the child watched in the mirror and he began to be transformed from a toddler, to a little boy. His blue eyes brightened looked back in the glass and saw his parents smiling at him.
Finally, the barber brushed the little boy's neck with a soft bristled brush and touched his hair with a comb the final time, and then he helped the little boy down off the high chair down onto the floor.
"POPPA! LOOK! I'm a big boy, now!" was the squeal of the little boy as he dove into his father's arms. Admiral Harriman Nelson swung his son around once. Laughing warmly, he held the boy close.
"Yes, you are, Sean. Yes, you're definitely a big boy now!"
Sean squealed in delight. Grabbing at the air, he called out, "MOMMA, Look at me!!! I'm a big boy!!"
Karen Davis Nelson had quietly moved to the barber's chair as she looked at her husband and son. Stooping down, she carefully picked up several red ringlets that had fallen on the floor and tucked them into her jacket pocket. As she wiped the remaining tears from her eyes, she followed the men in her life from the Barbershop. As she patted the pocket that held the red curls, she whispered to herself, "Yes, Sean...you're a big boy now...but you'll always be my little one, no matter how big you get."
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