05 Jan A Parent’s Perspective by Courtney Elbert
When Sam was a newborn, I remember looking at his hair as I stroked his head gently. He had beautiful hair that was so soft and sort of coppery-blond. I remember having a distinct moment of grief as I gazed at his sweet hair and innocence…and lamented that he may never have another female besides his Mama who would gaze so lovingly at his beautiful hair and his beautiful existence.
Fast-forward several years to when Sam was getting all spiffed up to attend his first dance (Jesus Prom at Southland Christian Church with his hot date “Ms. Sam” whom he adored then and adores now). Sam was probably 8 years old or so. He was unbelievably excited and I was helping him to get ready for the dance. Out of nowhere, Sam asked me to “spike” his hair. (For those that don’t know me well, I can barely fix my own hair – let alone someone else’s…some people don’t know I have long hair because it’s usually tied in a messy knot on top of my head still soaking wet from the shower!) Panicked about Sam’s request and my inability to deliver, I had to frantically rummage around through a drawer to find some sort of old “hair product” I owned to put in Sam’s hair to spike it. But, by golly, this guy wanted his hair spiked!
As soon as I put the finishing touches on his spiked hair, Sam looked at me with his gigantic smile, and with the utmost sincerity asked me: “Mom, do I look irresistible?” No joke. Where in the world did he come up with this term and know precisely what it meant, and the context of its use? This is a kid who has attended weekly speech therapy since he was an infant. This is a kid who used sign language predominantly until he was about 5. This is a kid who often struggles to find his words. This is a kid who can’t pronouce “S”. This is a kid whose Mom cried silent tears for him as a baby because I was sad he might never experience the gaze of a wife in love with his beautiful hair and soul. And yet…Sam was so joyful and content when he asked me that question…and he was feeling so proud. And you better believe this kiddo looked irresistible! I knelt down, looked at his spiked hair, then looked him in the eyes as I remembered that moment I had when he was an infant, and I said, “Why, yes, Sam Elbert, you DO look absolutely irresistible.” Sometimes words can’t capture the enormity of an emotion. And sometimes they do.
And the spiked hair tradition has continued since that first dance. Every time since then, when he has a dance, it’s the only time Sam asks me to spike his hair. And I do. And we smile and laugh each time as I tell him he looks absolutely irresistible. Because he does. And he is.
And as I gaze into his eyes and see the purity of his life, the enthusiasm of his laugh and the beauty of his hair and his existence, I blink back a few tears knowing that Beauty and Goodness exist regardless of who is there to behold it. Because there is One who counts every single hair on our heads, and whose loving gaze at our irresistibility and beauty is beyond our wildest imaginings and encompasses a love that is enormous.