I parted my daughter’s hair and tilted her head into the sunlight. Peering closely at her so-white scalp, I breathed an inward sigh of relief. Clear. I continued to part and peer, part and peer. Nearly done. Then I saw it. A tiny black speck nestled in among the golden strands. Motionless, I could almost believe it was a bit of dust. Almost. But I knew better. My shoulders slumped as I reached for the tweezers.
Several days before, we had received the dreaded call. A call that no parent wants to hear, but even more, the call no parent wants to have to make. “My kids have lice!” my friend confessed, her voice filled with tears. My heart went out to her. I’d heard that dealing with head lice was a nightmare. Then it struck me like a zoom shot in a bad horror movie; my children had been playing with hers only days before.
With four kids involved in a multitude of activities, I suppose it is a minor miracle that we have not dealt with this before. I dutifully looked through the hair of my daughter, not knowing what I was looking for until I actually saw. A small tear-shaped nodule fixed firmly to a strand of hair near the scalp. An egg. And thus began all-out war.
I tweezed the black speck from her head and held it up to the light. Its tiny, translucent legs waved, frantically seeking purchase. I could almost hear it’s little buggy voice screaming. How could this be? I wondered. We had medicated her hair twice and had washed everything in the house multiple times. I was spending hours everyday pouring over her hair with magnifying glass and a gazillion-lumen flashlight, yet obviously we were missing some.
We kept finding one a day. Like vitamins, I thought, suppressing a hysterical giggle. The picture of a monkey flashed into my emotionally exhausted brain. I envisioned myself popping the nasty little beast into my mouth. Down the hatch. Shuddering at the morbid thought, I dropped the wriggling creature into a repurposed spice jar for later scrutiny with the microscope. We are homeschoolers after all, and like it or not, this was hands-on science.
Thankfully, no one else in our house became infected. Or shall I say, infested. Thanks to my friend we had caught it early and, with diligence bordering on obsession, eradicated the little buggers before they ever had a chance to propagate. Nevertheless, it was an exhausting experience. But like all such experiences, lessons were there for the picking. (or nit-picking)
When something is important enough, I have time.
How often do my kids ask me to play with them only to hear the words, “I don’t have time.”
How often does my husband ask me to spend time with him, to watch a movie and snuggle in the big chair only to hear, “I don’t have time.”
How often do I hit the ground running in the morning rather than spend time at the feet of my Jesus? “The Lord will understand, I don’t have time today.”
Yet somehow I found hours each day to do nothing but nit-pick the scalp of my poor child. In fact, if I’m brutally honest, I somehow find time to nit-pick many other things in life as well. How much time and mental energy am I wasting on things of little import? How many good opportunities am I missing because of this perceived lack of time? Ouch.
Praise can be found anywhere.
The day I combed through and found no signs of life, sunbeams shot through the clouds. I heard birds singing sweetly, and the strains of the hallelujah chorus were clear in my head. “Thank you, thank you, thank you, Jesus!” Jumbled words of praise poured through my mind.
As I’ve reflected on the past week, I am intensely grateful that only one of my people had caught this pestilence. I was thankful for my friend, with whom I now have a ‘buggy-bond’. There is no one else I’d rather have walked this stretch of road with, and I know I have a new for-life friend. How sweet is that?
I find myself praising the Creator of all things, large and miniscule. I can thank Him that, even in this, there is beauty to be found. And I praise Him that one day pesky troubles such as this will be only a distant memory.
A bit of revulsion and a lot of humor make life better.
Shortly after winning this war of miniature foes, my battle-weary immune system decided to go on strike. Head achy and nauseous, I lay in bed groaning, wishing I could just barf and be done with it. My husband stood in the doorway observing my pathetic self with compassion. Then his eyes glinted as he said, “Look on the bright side. At least you don’t have lice!”
So right, I thought, and nestled further into the pillows. At least I don’t have lice. Smiling, I fell asleep and dreamed sweet dreams of victory.