Category Archives: gratitude

We got lice. I’m grateful.

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Lice. The great equalizer. Or is it?

Lice can happen to anyone, even to an arrogant blogger who thinks she’s hilarious and knows how to “prevent” lice when she’s never actually dealt with the real thing. It’s how we manage the aftermath that varies.

We got It. By It, I mean lice, by we, I mean my kids and me, and by me, I mean ME. I most certainly could’ve lived a humble and happy life filled with compassion for others with nits without experiencing it firsthand. Alas, the universe had different plans, but the despicable experience reminded me how fortunate I am.

I can afford professional lice removal. When I combed the third (or thirtieth?) live louse out of my kids’ heads in my kitchen, my anxiety turned into panic and I couldn’t catch my breath. I googled “professional lice removal” and threw everyone and their bug-infested heads in the car. We spent the next four hours getting deloused by professionals, and the peace of mind was worth every penny. Besides, I don’t need to save for college because my kids are going to be YouTube superstars.

I have a washer and dryer in my home. Lice = ten billion loads of laundry. Every towel, bathroom rug, sheet, blanket, comforter, mattress pad, pillow case, and every item of clothing worn in the previous two-four days had to be washed. Everything that couldn’t be laundered – throw pillows, stuffed animals, hats, etc. – had to go in the dryer on high heat for 30 minutes. For the next week, bed linens and towels were washed and stuffed animals were “cooked” multiple times daily. If laundry was an annoyance B.L. (Before Lice), it was the bane of my existence A.L. (After Lice).

I can afford new bed pillows. Until lice strikes your home, you can’t fully understand the desire to throw everything out and start fresh in the witness protection program somewhere in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan. I gathered as many 20%-Off Bed Bath & Beyond coupons as I could find and replaced every bed pillow in my house.

I have the luxury of time. Instructions from the professionals were to run the metal comb through everyone’s wet hair every day for one week. To do so, everyone’s hair had to be doused with conditioner. Then, everyone’s hair had to be rinsed. Next, towels had to be washed and dried. Between each “patient,” the comb had to be sterilized in four-parts water/one-part ammonia. Repeat. I didn’t leave my house for several days.

I have perspective. A week later, we were directed to cover our heads in Crisco (a.k.a. vegetable shorting) for six hours to suffocate any remaining eggs that might hatch and then use dish detergent to counteract the grease. Or, we could return to the professionals for follow-up, which entailed two dry and two wet comb treatments for half of the original cost. I thought long and hard about how we would handle having our heads soaked in lard for six hours and chose the latter.

During our follow-up, which was no walk the park because that metal comb was no fucking joke, there was a lot of crying and screaming coming from the room across the hall. I assumed there was a “threenager” or “fournado” in there who was pissed about the unexpected pit stop.

Eventually, the woman combing through our hair apologized for the commotion. I assured her no apology was necessary. I pointed to my boys who took turns giving me the stank face for ruining their afternoon. “I get it.”

She apologized again. “The little girl in there is deaf and has autism.”

I remembered how my boys would sob and shriek during haircuts when they were toddlers. SPD made the simple act of trimming their hair – among other grooming practices – dreadful. All those years ago, dealing with lice would’ve been impossible.

Now, as they got deloused for the second time in a week, they were unhappy but compliant. They knew what to expect and what was expected of them, and they had the skills to cope physically and emotionally. In fact, although they still disliked haircuts, I predicted they would thank me for the next one after this clusterfuck.

Lice is gross. It’s expensive. It’s time-consuming. It’s inconvenient. It’s exhausting. It’s all of these things and more, but mostly, it’s invasive. For the little girl with severe special needs across the hall, it was painful, nightmarish, and traumatic.

We got lice. I’m grateful because as big of a deal as it was, it was no big deal at all.

That said, I’d be eternally thankful if It never happened again.

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Aftershocks of Gratitude

Hey Mamas,

Is it Thursday already? I have some more good writing news to share.

I have a new essay up on a web site called Great Moments in Parenting. It’s called “Aftershocks of Gratitude.” I wrote it back in the spring when I first began packing up the house in preparation for the big move. It’s about letting go, holding on, and finding gratitude where there once was none.

Here’s the link: http://greatmomentsinparenting.com/essays/aftershocks/

Thank you for reading and sharing!

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Filed under gratitude, molar pregnancy, motherhood, moving

The Little Block

I had just returned from taking Gertie for a short walk around the little block. The boys didn’t want to come so I left them at home playing Minecraft, locked the door, and ordered them not to open it for anyone.

That’s okay, right? (I’m asking for a friend.)

Anyway, I went around the little block so I’d get back quickly. We call it the little block because sometimes the boys are lazy bums and don’t want to go around the bigger, longer block in the other direction. Apparently too much exercise and fresh air are detrimental to their gaming regimen.

The little block is a path I’ve traversed countless times with my boys over the years. Oh, the fun insanity we’ve had on the little block! We’ve splashed in puddles after rainstorms and collected rocks. We’ve chased butterflies and searched for worms. We’ve gathered acorns and raced to the stop sign. We’ve scraped knees and talked about dog heaven. Sometimes the little block was a means to a peaceful end (naptime). Other times it was my Kryptonite because getting around the little block with two curious little boys took three lifetimes and ended with me pulling my hair out or worse, which at least was entertaining to the neighbors.

It was close to Halloween when we first moved into our house. Dylan wore a bumblebee costume that year, and we took him trick-or-treating around the little block.   He didn’t care about candy (yet), but he liked to ring doorbells and touch garage doors and say “ah-rage.” It was before his sensory sensitivities erupted and during the good ol’ days when he ate chicken. It was when I was pregnant with Riley and my problems were naptime, bedtime, and poopy diapers. It was when people told me to enjoy every minute, and I wanted to strangle them.

When Christmastime rolled around that year, Mike and I took Dylan and Harry on long walks around the neighborhood in the evenings to look at Christmas lights. Eventually Dylan refused to sit in his stroller, which was when we began walking mostly around the little block because walking anywhere with a two-year-old kid didn’t get anyone anywhere fast.

There’s this one house on the little block that has always decorated for Christmas perfectly. There’s no inflatable nativity scene blowing in the breeze on the front lawn and no blinking lights that only cover one third of the house. No, this house has green garland framing the front door, a beautiful wreath with a big, red bow centered on the roofline, three lit candles in each front window, soft yellow lights blanketing every hedge in the yard, and three sparkling snowmen on the side lawn. Every time we walked by this house that first Christmas in our house, Dylan would point his pudgy finger at the snowmen and say, “noman.”

It was when Mike got home from work early enough to take evening walks. It was when there was no homework, eye exercises, or Kindergarten angst. It was when parenting while pregnant was physically impossible demanding interspersed with moments of Awww (like “ah-rage” and “noman”) that made it all worth the mess and sleep deprivation.

On my quick walk with Gertie around the little block – quick because is it actually okay to leave five and eight-year-old kids home alone for ten minutes? – something stopped me in my tracks.

It was the “noman.”

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Suddenly, the passage of time – of six years – hit me like a brick. If the boys had joined me on this walk with Gertie, they would’ve done it on a bike, a scooter, or rollerblades with me yelling from behind, “Watch out for cars backing out of driveways!” or “Wait for me at the fire hydrant!”  They would’ve sped past the “noman” without a second glance.

As I deal with the challenges we face today with school, work, friends, and family, I yearn for the simplicity of those long ago walks around the little block. Even the ones when Riley insisted on collecting and carrying palm fronds three times his size all by himself NO MATTER HOW LONG IT TOOK because Harry liked to chew on them in our backyard. I truly miss when my problems were naptime, bedtime, and poopy diapers.

Now when I pass moms with babies, I want to be annoying and tell them to enjoy every minute because it does go by fast. I’m not out of the woods by any means, but the physical exertion of motherhood has transitioned into something more akin to emotional torment.   Everything is still hard, but it’s not my back that strains from the work, it’s my heart.

I gave a quiet salute to the “noman” and continued walking. Once I turned the last corner of the little block and saw my house with no overt evidence of a home invasion or kidnapping, I took a deep breath and remembered something I read earlier in the day:

Once you have become grateful for a problem, it loses its power to drag you down.

When I walked through the front door, I did my best to let gratitude wash over me. Gratitude for my complicated, loving, and growing boys who were thankfully standing exactly where I left them ten minutes earlier, for the memory of the “noman,” and for the little block whose path I realized has selflessly given me so much.

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Filed under boys, Christmas, gratitude, motherhood