James had a job interview today---a white shirt and tie, clean-shaven kind of interview.
So last night we had a brief "goodbye to the beard" party, mostly to make sure the boys would still recognize their daddy.
James set up a chair so Ji could see the process very clearly. Boo was standing on another chair, but it broke about ten minutes into the farewell gathering. I held onto Baby who was most excited to be by the mirror.
And James turned on his clippers.
Buzz, buzz, buzz---down one cheek, sideburn left intact.
Little hands rub the shaven fuzz.
Buzz down the other cheek.
"Am I still me?" Daddy asks.
Baby smiles at his daddy.
"Mustache or goatee next?"
One says goatee. All is gone but a tiny strip at the chin.
"Mustache!" the other cries.
Clip, clip---the mustache is gone.
"Who is this man?" Baby wonders.
"Why is his smile familiar?"
Baby feels shy and hides from the stranger.
Stares at the stranger with his daddy's voice, then hides again.
Daddy takes his baby's hand and rubs the last of the beard,
"It's me, Daddy."
Baby recognizes Daddy from his beard and smiles.
"It's just so different," Boo cannot stop herself from saying.
White cream smothered on face inspires Ji to call out "Joker!"
White face, red lips, and a smile.
It was a good beard:
The beard of an innkeeper.
The beard of a teacher.
The beard of a writer.
The beard of a brother.
The beard of a husband.
The beard of a father.
The beard will be back. It can't be helped. The beard wants to grow.