It was while getting Vivian’s haircut that a total stranger without a saying a word, let me know that he understood I was doing my very best. I felt like a train wreck. Vivian shocked me when she revealed she wanted to cut her hair short, really short. I was game because while I love her long hair it is very thin and there is a LOT of it so it gets really, really tangled – almost matted. Sadly, as I was not planning on anything more than a trim, I did not have enough battery power on my cellphone to keep Caroline entertained throughout this experience. Once the phone died – which was before Vivian’s haircut started – Caroline was ALL over the place. She tried to leave, she climbed on the shampoo chair, laid on the floor and made a snow angel, played with a hair dryer not in use, tried to use three other peoples’ cell phones – girlfriend was relentless.
Vivian, for her part, decided about half through the haircut that she looked like a boy and started to regret her decision. So there I was corralling Caroline and offering a pep talk to Vivian. I was trying very hard to be the mom both of the ladies needed at the same time – which was two total different versions of me.
A young man and his son, who was about Caroline’s age, came in for haircuts. They were were in and out before Vivian’s haircut was complete. However, they were there long enough to see the chaos the Buzzard Ladies had brought to the Super Cuts. At one point, I told Vivian “You need to take it down three notches, our family is responsible for 90% of the noise and 100% of chaos in here.”
As Vivian’s hair was about halfway done, one of the other hairdressers asked if Vivian had received a deep conditioning – I said no because we decided to go with a short cut, instead. I thought it was weird she was asking but figured she needed to close out our ticket for some reason or another. It turns out, the nice young man wanted to pay for Vivian’s haircut and make sure I did not know about it until he was gone.
When the ladies told me my bill had been paid for, my jaw dropped. I didn’t ask why. I was speechless. I was convinced this man was silently judging me while he and his son waited for their haircuts. And it turns out maybe he was but not in the way, I had imagined.
In the time we were at Super Cuts I didn’t apologize for Caroline’s behavior or explain she has autism…I was too tired. But between our interactions, the man who paid for Vivian’s haircut could see that despite how disruptive our family was, we really were trying to do the best we could. I thank him for not harshly judging Caroline or Vivian or my parenting. His willingness to look past our loud, active presence allowed him to see that even families who have kids with special needs, sometimes need to run errands.
This silent generosity left me feeling all “the feels”. It has also reminded me that some parents offer their support to other parents without words but with gentle gestures that say, “I have been there, too – you will make it through this day.”
Thanks for the haircut and for the pick me up.