Eli Sofer, my Hair dresser.

children with autism

It is Thursday afternoon, I’m after the 5th activity with my two kids, Michal and Hillel, both of whom are autistic. How will I fill the time until evening? Let us have a walk to the ice cream parlor. On our way, I recall that for the past few days I’ve been trying to find time to color my hair.  I’m calling Eli: ” May I come?” “when?” He is probably fully- booked; I try anyway: “in half an hour?” “Come over, and I will squeeze you in.” We are at the hair salon. Michal is stretching her hands up and flapping while squeaking. My “little girl” is 5 feet and 6 inches tall. “OMG” cries one stylish woman startled. Hillel is moving from one cookie to the other cookie, touching them all. He turns to another woman with a silver foil lion’s mane on her head sitting on a soft couch: “Move over and make me some room.” “Hillel,” I say with a firm voice, so the lion woman will get the impression that I’m trying to maintain discipline.  “It is alright,” she says with an understanding smile and moves from the couch to a chair.  Another 45 minutes of me trying to keep their masks on their nose, to keep them “screaming with a whispering voice,” trying to prevent them from messing up the whole fancy salon. In the end, I pay Eric, one of the great hairstylists in the shop, Eli is watching me: “Keren, feel comfortable; your Kids are invited to our shop, always.” This is a story of a hair salon owner with excellent hands and a heart of gold.  This is also a story of a mother who managed to dye her hair without a babysitter.  Moreover, it is a story about choices. Eli’s choice. He had the legitimate right to tell me: Keren, you are cutting your hair at my shop for years, people are coming here to become beautiful to drink cappuccino, a moment of luxury. Next time try to come here when you manage a babysitter.  But Eli chose to say: You and your Kids belong to my hair salon. You and your kids belong to the community. I hugged Eli with tears in my eyes.