My Yellow Umbrella

by. jen halvorson

Mary Kate's First Hair Cut

Jennifer Halvorson

19 Jul, 2015

Like any other mother out there striving to be "good" {what ever that means?}, I tried to capture all the special moments with pictures and scrapbooks and writing in their baby books. With each birth, I vowed to be better at writing things down. As if I was going to have more time or something. With each birth, I got worse. My mother kept a loch of hair from my first haircut so, I guess I thought I best do the same. Not sure why. So, when Mary Kate was about age 3, I finally sat her down to trim the ends of her blonde hair. I am sure no one could even tell that we had trimmed, but nonetheless I got the little pieces of hair needed to save for her baby or scrapbook. yeah! I safely put the hair in to a small zip lock bag on the counter. Temporarily. I would later add it to some pictures in a 2 page scrap-tackular, embellished beauty in her 5th scrapbook. Since Mary Kate is the oldest, she actually have multiple books. I am sure someday the others will hate me for that.

Side Story #1... You will notice, most of my stories have stories inside of stories. I get this skill from my mother. Try to follow, I dare you.

Early on in my relationship with Ben, I got an apartment. It was on the 3rd floor of a complex that smelled like Indian food and wet carpet. It was cheap. But, I had cats and a boyfriend that I wanted to have sleepovers with. Besides, at age 22, it was time I moved out of the plumbing shop loft, where I had lived for over a year. It was my dad's plumbing business and since my boyfriend was an employee, sleepovers would have been super awkward. Imagine walking down a stairs to the shop where dozens of guys were checking in, picking up supplies and getting their assignments for the day. Since Ben was relatively new to his job and because I was the boss's daughter, there was just no way sleepovers were going to happen. Ben was living at home with his parents during this time. Getting the apartment was a really exciting and much needed for our relationship. One evening when Ben and I were cleaning up after a meal, he learned that I am "the kind of girl that rinses and reuses ziplock bags." This might have been the moment that he knew he was 'the one' because he discovered that I can be frugal. We had quite the discussion about this, actually. I consider using a bag once and tossing it wasteful (not frugal, that is just a bonus!) and I hate plastic bags. Landfills are full of them, but what really bothers me is animals get their necks caught in plastic bags and the plastic holder from a 6 pack. Every time I see those plastic holders I cut or tear them. Back to the story... Ben was surprised that I reused the bags. This led in to stories about our childhood and the funny, cheap things that our parents did (and still do!).

Side Story #2... Ben loves sandwiches. Ask ANY of his college buddies. He could probably live on sandwiches alone. He will eat just about any kind of bread with any kind of meat and any kind of cheese. Ben loves that the options are endless and never gets sick of eating them. There is NEVER a day when Ben does not eat a sandwich. Lunch is the main sandwich meal, but first supper1 and even snacks will often consist of a sandwich. Sometimes, on the weekends, we will have breakfast sandwiches. We also like French dips, chicken sandwiches, burgers and brats, grilled cheese, sloppy joes, BBQ pulled pork, etc. for supper - more sandwiches! I am a really good cook. It is a skill of mine. Baking is not. But, I do love cooking and I am very creative in the kitchen and rarely follow a recipe. Both my mother and father are creative cooks too. My mother was always taking leftovers and creating new meals, finding meals in a fridge that seemed bare and because of her financial hardships we didn't always have choices. We ate a lot of cheese, bread, peanut butter and what ever else Channel 1 food-shelf was offering. My dad is really good at soups. He often uses venison and other unconventional bases. I remember my dad making us, corned beef and hash and other 1 skillet meals.  My parents split up when I was about 8 1/2. As the oldest of their 4 children and the only girl, I was the 'mother of the kids' and took a lot of pride in helping with my brothers and trying to keep them out of the fighting. I am certain that I remember the most about the divorce and I have some VERY strong opinions about children and divorce situations, because of it. For another time, maybe? The best and most important thing that I remember about being a child of divorce is that our parents ALWAYS wanted us. I have to believe that they both did the best they could. I am grateful that they both loved (still love!) my brothers and I beleive that they always wanted what was best for us. They may not have agreed on or truly known what was best, but I think they wanted us to be safe, happy, healthy and to feel loved every day.  (OK... side story #3 got deep, let's see if I can get this to circle back around, shall we?)

One day (back when Mary Kate is about 3 and Anna is just 1) Ben is at work and like all other work days he has backed a lunch including 1 Mountain Dew, yogurt, a bar (that he already ate at break) and his sandwich. Sometimes he will also pack pringles, some pasta salad that I have made up, crackers or an extra bar. As Ben bites in to his sandwich, he notices a piece of hair. Ewe. He pulls out the small hair and continues, figuring that it was cat hair, which is an unfortunate condiment at our house. The next bite, however, is worse it contains a big chunk of hair. What in the hell?!  As Ben spits out the hairy bite of sandwich he realizes that he has put is lunch sandwich in to the same baggy holding Mary Kate's first hair cut. GROSS!  At first I was frustrated that he threw and spit out her hair, but now I think... whew! One less page to scrapbook.

1 first supper: The meal that Ben eats before his actual supper. I call this first supper.