Wednesday, July 18, 2012

The True Love Hairstyle

I have been doing hair for years.  It is something that I enjoy and it is a fun way to make money while hanging out with my girlfriends.  And every now and then, while doing hair, I learn something profound.

Last night I was cutting JT's hair.  We were trying to get it done quick because we had a ton of stuff we needed to do before I leave out of town tomorrow.  Recently, JT has started losing more hair so we have been cutting his hair shorter and shorter.  Now using a #2 guard on the sides.  (For those of you who have not cut your kids/husbands/missionaries hair- #2 is the size of the guard that goes over the blade that controls the length you cut the hair using clippers.)  As we were cutting his hair the unthinkable happened.  The guard broke.  (So now there is nothing controlling the length we are cutting his hair.)

No sooner did we notice it- when a long Vanilla Ice line appeared on the side of his head.

found this picture here
(Aren't we glad the clippers didn't slip and go for his eyebrows next??)  So here we are- Hairstylist and Husband and Vanilla Ice.  I was frantic.  There was a giant bald streak on the side of  my husband's head- and since he isn't a 1990's rapper I knew he wouldn't be able to pull it off!  I started to try to blend it in.  No luck. (Having a mostly female clientele I have lost the art of "fading" -  again, excuse my Hairstylist Lingo.) I finally tried to go down to a #1 (VERY short guard) to see if I could blend it.  Even worse.  Now I was no longer married to Vanilla Ice I was married to "Lt. High and Tight" straight out of Fort Lewis.

Jake Gyllenhaal
(picture from here, when he was filming for Jar Head)
I think JT looked slightly less Jake Gyllenhallish... but either way, I wasn't planning to be married to an army man.  As the hair got worse I started to panic. 

My first thought was "What will people think?? I am a hairstylist!  This will ruin my reputation!"  Then I thought "How am I going to kiss this guy?"  As I was freaking out, trying to suppress my tears of frustration, JT started to laugh.

"It's not a big deal, Katie," he said "It is actually kind of funny."  This is when I thought maybe he had gone temporarily blind, but then he went on "At least we get to spend more time together."  Because by now our 15 minute hair cut was taking closer to an hour. "It's just hair.  We can laugh about this and tuck it away with all of our other funny memories."

Suddenly, he was the hottest "Jar Head" I had ever seen.  (including Jake Gyllenhal) Who cares about what anybody thinks?  Who cares if I had to shave his head with a #1 all over? Who cares if it took trimming his hair all night to end up bald?  We were laughing and having fun.

I am so thankful for a husband who helps me laugh when I want to cry.  Who can easily see the bright side of just about anything- and point it out to me.  Who can make a career disaster into a sweet memory.  Who can bring me back to earth.  It is one of the greatest moments I have had as a hairstylist.

So when you see him at church on Sunday, or jogging around Fort Lewis, just salute him and give him a high five for being the best husband ever.  And when you see me, try not to judge my skills :)

Update: I wrote this last week before I went out of town, then forgot to hit publish- oops.  This is a family pic with his siblings, so you can see my fine Hair Artistry.  (JT is on the far left, in case you have no idea who my husband is, the one that looks better than Jake Gyllenhall.)

Friday, July 6, 2012

They just came that way

When JT and I were first married and I was getting to know the wonderful family I married into, I noticed a lot of people would make comments to my Mother in Law about how amazing her kids were.  (Part of me would smile with pride that I married one of those amazing kids- and the other part of me would feel like bragging about my own cool family and how lucky JT was to be married to a Nelson! competitive much, Katie?)

The conversation always sounded like this:

Person who knows my in-laws: Wow- you have such amazing kids! What is your secret?

Mother in Law (smiling): They just came that way and I tried not to mess them up.

This really struck me.  Was she just trying to be humble?  And pretend like she had nothing to do with it?  Maybe she was trying to hide her secrets of parenting from the rest of us? Or did she actually believe that they came that way?

I wanted to believe it was being humble, or deflecting a compliment.  Partly because I wanted it to be true that there was a secret trick. And I hoped that marrying one of her offspring would warrant me the secrets to raising good kids.  I wanted to believe that there was a magical spell that she performed at their births to make them great- kind of like Maleficent and the spell she cast on Sleeping Beauty when she was born to prick her finger -- only not so evil.

And then at Disneyland I had a rude awakening.  My kids had some of my annoying traits!  Traits that I have tried to suppress, traits that I didn't think they had ever witnessed, traits that I worried that they had inherited. (like being afraid of rides) I had mixed emotions.  Not only was I frustrated with them for doing things that I have tried to overcome, but I was angry with myself for inadvertently passing on some of my own weaknesses to my children.  How could this happen?

I will give you a Non- Disneyland example to illustrate my point:

Water.  My kids do not like water anywhere near their faces.  Most of my family is the same way.  Growing up we would shower with a towel draped over the shower door so that we could wipe our faces the minute a drop of water touched our forehead.  I overcame this on my mission when I had to shower without shower doors.  But I know some of my sisters still shower with a towel close by.  I was determined that my children would not be so aqua-phobic.   After all, no one in JT's family had that issue.  I watched the Tylers splash in pools with water dripping into their eyes without even noticing.  Dripping into their eyes!  Were they half amphibian?  JT didn't even shower with a towel!  In fact he enjoyed letting the water run down his face!  Crazy.  I believed I could raise kids to be like Tylers.  Fearless, brave, tough, (when we were engaged JT had his littlest sister on his shoulders running through the house chasing someone else when they ran into a room with a lower sealing and he smacked her head right into the sealing!  I would have cried, Lindsey didn't flinch), and not afraid of water on their faces.  Well, have you seen my kids around water?  Bath time is filled with cries of terror, sopping wet towels that get pulled into the tub, and the word "shower" is practically a swear word to my kids. 

Macie at the pool at our Hotel... notice the towel?

Aren't my kids half Tyler?  Then why do they seem so much more Katie than Jonathan?

After a day or so on Vacation, feeling frustrated with their fears of rides, I asked JT why it wasn't bothering him.  He said it was just how our kids are- and he loves them for being them.  He didn't blame me for their fears.  He has never blamed me.  Why do I?  Why do I get so frustrated with little traits?

Why not just accept that they came that way?  It is just them.  Not me.  (maybe because everything is about me)  I spent a lot of our vacation trying not to notice myself or Jonathan in my kids and let them be themselves.  If some of their traits seem like Nelson traits (like being funny, I like to take credit for any humor that comes out of our kids, don't tell the Tylers) or some of them seem like Tyler traits (like a fierce loyalty to their siblings --  Riley throwing herself in front of Blake at Disneyland when I did the classic "I am going to walk away" to get him to follow me, and Riley begged me not to leave him - which I will never do again because it did not work and traumatized Riley for life) I will just accept them as their own traits.  Not Nelson or Tyler.

Why do I want to see so much of me or my husband in my kids? I am not sure if I am seeking validation in them or if I just want to see all of our strengths and none of our weaknesses.  And why do I take on every one of their "weaknesses" as something that I may have caused?  (And really, is being afraid of a Roller Coaster even considered a weakness?)
They are Not afraid of the Carousel

Either way, it is not about me.  It is about them.  And letting them be who they are, without a label, and without unnecessary guilt that I may have made them that way.  I guess this is what it means to have Unconditional Love.  To not only love them if they are funny (again, like a Nelson, don't tell the Tylers) or if they are thoughtful (like JT) but to love them even  if they fear water like a toxic poison that may burn their flesh.  They are who they are, and that is why I love them.

I really do want to adopt my Mother in Law's phrase- and believe that my kids just came that way- and do my best to not mess them up.