It has taken me a few days to write about this, because 1) I'm a little superstitious and worried I could jinx myself talking about it in past tense. And 2) It is just so stinking embarrassing and humbling and those things are hard to put down on paper... or computer screen.
A month ago I wrote a post about my extreme over reaction about a tick I found on my son. I did not handle that event well. Thankfully, I had a support group (aka MOM) to get me through that difficult parenting moment. I spent a lot of time discussing how God was allowing me to grow and face my fears because of the tick.
"Thanks God for giving me a small 1 hr trial so I can learn to trust you! You're the best, God!"
Well that was just the warm up. Maybe it's just a coincidence or maybe God just thought.... I know how I can bring her to her knees.... Bugs. Yes, that will work every time. I'm really hoping this is not God's new plan to meet me at my low point.
"Really God, there are lots of other sad and ridiculous areas in my life you can use. I mean, You know. There's no need to list them all here. You are tracking with me in Your perfect omniscient-ness. Please and Thank You. Amen."
So here we go. The humbling story about bugs 2.0. My palms are starting to sweat while I type.
Lice. We had lice. (Mic drop)
Is anyone still there? You know you can't catch it from the computer, right? But go ahead and wash your hands and scratch your head because I know it immediately started itching.
The thing is, I've been so scared of lice since I was a kid, that I am usually pretty diligent about checking my family's heads and enforcing the rules about no hat sharing or brush sharing or whatever. But apparently not diligent enough.
So last week was VBS week. Busy and fun and one of our highlights of summer. We made it to Wednesday with minimal drama until I saw a picture of Walt with a unrecognizable hat on his head. I knew that Walt had not worn a hat to VBS so this was SOMEONE ELSE'S HAT! I assumed that the owner of this hat had lice and therefore had given it to my poor unsuspecting son. So I checked his head already knowing what I would fine.
Screams of horror. (And you know I'm not exaggerating.)
It was bad. Really bad. So bad that I knew immediately that this was not the result of today's hat sharing, but rather my sweet son was patient zero and had most likely spread it to multiple kids at VBS. So many thoughts and emotions flooded me in that moment. Panic. Fear. Embarrassment. Anger. Disgust. Shame. I got a little dizzy trying to figure out what to do first. I know now that my first response should have been to comfort my son and tell him it would be okay and we would figure it out. But if you read the last post, you already know that was not how I handled this scenario.
I made all 3 of my kids sit on the floor in the kitchen (because I assumed everything covered in fabric was now crawling with bugs) while I started calling people.
First was Steve. I'm not going to tell you all the things I said, because he has forgiven me and that's what matters. The gist of the conversation was GET HOME NOW. FINDING ALL THE BUGS IN OUR HOME IS YOUR JOB AND YOU HAVE FAILED ME.
Then my sister-in-law the teacher. Surely you have some advice.
Then my mom. Who was sweet and comforting, but wisely kept her distance this time. (Can't say that I blame her.)
Then my sweet friend Ali. She has been through this and I knew she would know what to do. But I never dreamed she would load up her children and drive to my house and face this madness.
"I'll be right there."
I was speechless. What?!? You are coming here?!? Why? How? Did you not hear that we are the house of the plague? She showed up at my door in 10 minutes with a bag of treatment shampoo and home spray pesticides and another bag of chocolate and Coke (because she gets me). She preceded to look through the girls' hair because I was too scared and flustered to do so.
Then she said "Ok. Sit down and let me check your head."
I broke down right there in my kitchen. I don't ugly cry in front of many people (I save that joy for my close family), but this was no time for pride. This servant of a friend willingly searched my head for lice. I sat there feeling like a baby monkey and thinking I had never been in such a humbling position.
She loved me and my kids even in our most vulnerable state. She calmly told my kids that they would be fine and this could not hurt them and that they didn't do anything wrong to get this. (You know, all the comforting things their mom should have said to them, but she couldn't because she will having a come apart.)
Her kindness gave me the strength to move forward to cleaning up the mess, both in our home and in our community. I texted all the VBS workers and told them the shameful news. Outing our problems to all of my friends and knowing that I was possibly making their lives harder really digs into my main insecurities. I worried about the extra work this would cause the VBS directors and the questions they might receive from angry parents. The stress eating had begun and I have never been more thankful for chocolate and caffeine.
The rest of the afternoon was filled with treating and combing everyone's hair and washing and bagging up every piece of fabric in our house. After about 20 minutes of cleaning Walt's hair Steve and I decided that we needed to just shave his head. As I was mourning the loss of my precious boy's frat do, I got a call from another friend who offered come with her husband to give him a buzz cut.
|Even hairless and covered in smelly shampoo, they are the cutest.|
Also, yes, I know, lice shampoo is toxic and some of you are horrified
I would use it, but to that I say
"YOU WEREN'T THERE! YOU DIDN'T KNOW!"
20 minutes later Justin was shaving my son's hair and Julie and Tiffany were vacuuming my house and folding the mounds of laundry I had done that afternoon. I couldn't believe this love that was being poured out on our family. And it just kept coming. Another friend brought pizza and more chocolate for lunch the next day. She knew we were homebound and up to our eye brows in laundry and pesticides and just wanted to help out.
I was overwhelmed at this type of friendship. I've heard women speak of a "tribe" or a group that they can call on during the really yucky times. I always thought how great that sounded, but I knew that I would never feel comfortable enough to ask for that kind help. This was the type of thing that was so embarrassing and dirty that I wanted to just hide and deal with it on my own (after the initial melt down of course). These thoughts were running through my head when I said to Julie (as she and Tiffany folded underwear in my messy bedroom) "You guys have done more than enough here. I can't ask you to do this! I will be fine." That's we she blew my mind with the words...
"You didn't ask. This is just what friends do."
I cried myself to sleep that night. Partially due to exhaustion, but mostly due to brokenness. My house had been turned upside down and I expected to feel angry, ashamed, frustrated, overwhelmed, and anxious at the end of the day. Instead I was on my knees weeping because all I could feel was really really.....blessed.
God had shown me what it meant to love your neighbor and He was telling me not to feel guilty for being a burden or for not being the same kind of friend. He just told me...Now that you have seen this... Go and do the same!
"Which of these three do you think proved to be a neighbor to the man who fell into the hand of the robbers (or in this case Lice)?" And he said, "The one who showed mercy toward him." Then Jesus said to him, "Go and do the same!" Luke 10:37 (paraphrase mine)
"The second is this: 'Love your neighbor as yourself. There is no commandment greater than these." Mark 12:30-31
Thank you God for trials that teach us about Grace and Mercy. But please, Lord, can we be done with the bugs?
At least for 2017.
FACEBOOK FROM THE PAST
We are very good at expressing our feelings and airing our grievances in this family. It happens a lot and very loudly around here. But yelling at each other because your brother's Wii character is bothering your Wii character has to be a new low. Right? #summer