Hey, guess what I’ve been doing all week?
I’ve been combing through all four of my children’s hair as well as my own hair and Dave’s hair, picking out whatever looks even remotely suspicious to me. I’m using a fine tooth comb. It’s been lousy.
Alright, enough of the clever language. Last week my poor oldest son had a rather itchy head. I took a look. He had some new occupants in his hair. Headlice. They suck.
I have to keep a sense of humor now because I was so completely wigged out when I found them at 10pm that Saturday night I realized how utterly unprepared I was for this. We’d had a friend come visit who went though it so it was, in fact, on my radar. I’d stopped checking religiously after about a week though. I really thought we were in the free and clear camp. Not so.
A whole variety of thoughts and feelings coursed through me in those moments I pushed the grocery cart through the store that night. I considered buying an entire compliment of groceries even though I didn’t need them, so as to hide the RID in my cart. I thought through the jokes I would make to the cashier or the excuses I’d offer up. I felt like a failure as a parent, a negligent mother, a bad housekeeper. My domestic goddess status was in dire turmoil. I was in danger of having my “mom of the year” award nomination revoked.
And then I buckled down and started in on the task at hand. It was strange because I didn’t hate it. I was tired, I was annoyed, I was embarrassed but I patiently (for the most part) combed through their hair, one piece at a time, one kid at a time. We talked, I combed, we laughed a little. I pride myself on how often I tell my children they are loved. I hope I show it physically often. It’s something I want for them. They are affectionate little folks. I hope I am welcoming of that. As I combed, however, I was conscious of the care I was giving. I know that a lot fell to the wayside, the dishes, the emails, the internets and sadly, the husband who’d just had shoulder surgery (sorry, Dave.) In that moment, though, I had this pinpoint focus of interest and it was satisfying if not a little itchy. I told someone it was almost meditative for me. The task was clear. It was simple. It had a singular focus and it showed care.
Of course, hindsight is 20/20, I realize that. I also realize that we won’t be in the “free and clear” zone for a while yet. Reoccurrence happens, more often than not. I suspect that we’ll be on high alert around here for at least the next few weeks or even next couple of months. It is going to cramp our style. It is going to be a pain in the ass. My head is going to feel itchy for years every time I think of it. Yours might feel that way after reading this. You’re welcome.
What I’m aiming for in all of this is to find that small moment again and again, that small moment of peace and connection and singular focus, that small act of care. I hope that I find it while vacuuming or while checking Algebra homework. I hope that I find it in the laundry and the carpool line and the swim team sign ups. I hope that I find it in the grocery store and on the internets. I hope that I find it in the everyday and the ordinary. I hope so.
That being said, I’d be really okay with not finding anymore headlice.