That's right friends. We have (excuse me while I throw up in my mouth) a LICE SITUATION in the Watts home.
In the words of Jimmy Fallon, "EW."
Actually, EW doesn't begin to do it justice. Barf, gag, blech, HOLY MOTHER OF ALL GOOD THINGS, maybe, but not a simple EW.
Some of you might feel that I'm overreacting a bit. To you I simply say this: SHUT IT.
My kids getting lice has been the one strange phobia I've battled as a parent. It’s the one non-life-and-death thing I’ve overly worried about, but, 'til now, we've never had it. I think one of my children does have it every few months, which prompts me to go through their hair with a fine-toothed comb (literally). I've done it so many times that I've started to question my sanity, which is why this time (the time when my kid actually DOES have lice), I ignored the telltale symptoms and told my daughter she had dry scalp issues.
For two weeks.
Yes, this means her lice have gone untreated for two weeks. Two Wednesdays ago she came to me as we were walking out the door for school, and she told me her head itched badly and that she thought she had lice. I quickly parted her hair and glanced at her scalp. I didn't see any lice, so I proclaimed, "NO LICE!" She started crying because her head was so itchy and I told her to quit being so dramatic. #momwin
The scratching continued.
"Of COURSE your head is gonna itch if you keep scratching it, Em," I said, exasperated. "Just stop scratching. It's psychosomatic. That means you’re letting your mind get the best of you.”
Even as I type this I feel incredible horrible and guilty. And itchy.
Then we went to the beach for Thanksgiving.
“My head still itches, mom,” Emerson said.
“That’s because you have sand in your hair, ding dong,” I said, again #winning.
Well, now we’re home from the beach, and the head is still itching. I finally did what all doctors advise against but I should have done weeks ago and hopped on the ol’ Google to find out what I should be looking for were my child to have lice.
Note to self: ignore anyone with a PhD. They’re TOO smart. Use common sense and the daggum GOOGLE.
I found, to my amazement, that lice don’t look like large black bugs crawling on the scalp, but that they’re actually tiny and clear-ish and quite hard to spot. I read about the nits (EW), and about the little sacs of eggs lice leave near the base of the hair.
It’s those egg sacks that clued me in.
I called Emerson to my bathroom and started digging through her hair. What I had assumed to be tiny pieces of dandruff from all that dry scalp didn’t move when I flicked at them. They stayed stuck to the hairs…like glue.
No thanks, Oprah.
The first thing I had to do was break the news to my sweet eight-year-old daughter that she did, in fact, have lice, and that I had been, in fact, wrong about it for two weeks.
She looked horrified and asked if I’d have to cut off all her hair.
“No,” I said. But what I wanted to say was, “YES, LET’S CUT OFF ALL YOUR HAIR! AND YOUR BROTHERS’ HAIR! AND MY HAIR! EVERYONE’S HAIR MUST GO!”
I told her it was no big deal, that we’d take care of it, and that she could go play. As soon as she left my bathroom I started jumping up and down and scratching every square inch of my body. In fact, it's been six hours, and I haven't stopped scratching some part of me for more than five seconds since.
I'm 97% sure I feel like I have lice, and I'm 23% sure I actually have lice. FOR THE LOVE - I USED MY DAUGHTER'S PILLOW IN THE CAR THREE DAYS AGO WHILE WE DROVE HOME FROM THE BEACH! And I know, with my massively curly hair, if lice come to nest, they are getting comfortable and won't want to leave. My curls would provide such nice, cozy little beds for them and their familes.
I might be pulling a Britney tomorrow.
***Sorry to make you a scapegoat, Britney. Nobody knew you shaved your head because of lice. And here everyone thought you'd lost your mind...
The crazy part is, I think my "lice" are all in my head. No, not ON my head. IN my head...as in, psychosomatic.
The mind is a peculiar thing. Mine can wander and operate in a haze when I need it functioning at full capacity, and when I need it to calm down and think rationally, it has laser focus on things that aren't even really there. (Please, God, let them not be there!)
I know truth. I can look at scalp and see that there are no signs of lice. But I can't accept the truth, because I FEEL differently about it.
Isn't this the struggle of all struggles? We know the truth, but we don't buy into the truth. We see evidence of what is true all around us, but the lies speak louder than everything else.
One of the biggest lies I buy into is that I am only as good, only as worthy, only as respectable as the condition my physical body is in.
-- PAUSE FOR HEAD SCRATCHING --
I am overweight. I've never felt so out of control in my life. The enemy, who is as real as you and I are, whispers lies to me all day, every day. He says I'm a disappointment. I'm a failure. I'm an embarrassment. He even goes so far as to tell me that the people who love me are disgusted by me, and that they all pity me behind my back. He tells me that because I'm out of shape, I'm pathetic, and that I deserve to be fat.
And many days, I believe it.
The TRUTH about me is markedly different than the lies Satan taunts me with. And I KNOW what God says about me, the truths He sings over me. I am HIS. I am LOVED. I am VALUABLE. I am MORE THAN MY BODY. I am LOVED BY OTHERS. And so on, and so forth.
I know it, and I see the evidence of His truth in my life. But often I don't buy into it.
I scratch away at my soul, convinced that I'm being eaten alive by failure and shame, sure that I have a parasite that won't relent until it's devoured all of my joy and all of my value.
There's no parasite. I'm clean and I'm free, and I DON'T EVEN KNOW IT. I'm worrying about something that's not even a reality, and it has me so far off focus that I can't see the truth for the lies.
And in those moments, Satan wins. He loves every minutes of it.
Thankfully, there's good news. What's the good news, you ask?
In the end, truth always wins.
I am hidden in Christ, and He is now a part of my DNA. Satan might win for a minute, but Christ wins in the end, and because He is in me and I in Him, His truth WILL win in my heart and in my life.
"Starting from scratch (trying HARD not to laugh at this unintended pun), he made the entire human race and made the earth hospitable, with plenty of time and space for living so we could seek after God, and not just grope around in the dark but actually find him. He doesn’t play hide-and-seek with us. He’s not remote; he’s near. We live and move in him, can’t get away from him!" ACTS 17:26-28
No matter how much my brain might tell me that the lies of the enemy are true, and that they define me, in the end, God wins. He always does. His truth prevails and I am reminded, again, that I am so much more than a body.
And so are you.
For example, right now I am a body that feels like the feet of a thousand spiders are walking up and down my legs, arms, back, neck, and scalp. So much more than just a body.
With that, I say goodnight. I've got nothing else for you.
Until tomorrow, when I will fumigate and annihilate and INFURIATE those little creatures that have made a home on my daughter's scalp. I will also be poor from paying for the treatment and all of the lice prevention spray that I can find in the southeastern United States. If you see us around and wonder why our hair looks wet all the time, it will be because it is, indeed, wet all the time. You see, we will be dunking our heads in a bucket of lice prevention solution multiple times daily. Come getcha some.