Tuesday, August 7, 2012

The unexpected intruder

Seriously, I couldn't make this stuff up if I tried!
The very. same. evening I flew back home to my sweet family from Philadelphia we ended up in a mess!
A gut-wrenching, drop me to my knees, begging God for mercy, mess!
Not only was I mentally and physically tired from my amazing journey to unexpectedly visit my grandmother, but I had only 4 days to get myself and 3 children completely packed for a week at summer church camp 4 hours from our home.
I tend to be a bit OCD about the packing thing, so I was trying to get myself mentally organized for the task at hand.
There was much hugging and kissing at the airport and everyone wanted to cram all around me in the van during our ride home.
Abby even had to sit on my lap.
It was all very sweet.
We had so much fun unpacking all the goodies I had brought home, and there was much story telling all around.
Then, about 8:30 or 9:00 pm, Abby comes to me quietly in the kitchen and she says rather off-handedly, "Mom, my head has been itching a lot lately."

When she said that to me, I practically froze in horror where I was standing.
Somehow, I knew this was my worst nightmare come true!

You see, nearly 19 years ago, I was working in a group home for abused and neglected girls in Manchester, NH as a child care worker.
We had been through some staffing turnovers, and it was down to just myself and two other amazing child care workers caring for 10-12 girls by ourselves.
As God had predetermined, while we were short staffed, we had an epidemic of lice come through brought back to the home by one of the girls who had been home with her biological mother for awhile.  It was a nightmare for us.
Come to find out only 1 or 2 of the girls did not have it.
The amount of work we had to do to rid the home of this was just staggering and exhausting!
It was a couple months before we stopped getting calls from the school that one of the girls still had a nit in her hair!
As a young mother, I would relive that experience and try to think ahead to how I would handle a situation like that if it ever occurred in my own home.

No one could have prepared me for Abby coming to me that evening.
I just knew what it was.
I immediately began looking around her ears and at the nape of her neck, and sure enough, I immediately found 2 nits and one tiny louse just behind her ear.

I crumbled.
It wasn't pretty.
I had to go and sit on the edge of my bathtub because I was so nauseous and overwhelmed with what that meant for our family for the next 72 hours.
I didn't want to think about it.
I was so mad!!
Why now!!
Why couldn't we have come home from camp with it!!  Why not two years ago?  I was flying all through these other scenarios of when it would have been better timing!
I was so upset about what just slammed in my face that I frightened my children.
Poor Abby became hysterical because she thought this might make her die.
She couldn't understand why I was so distraught.

I had to pull myself together.
My husband was a little baffled at my response, but he was my hero!
This is what he said very gently to me:  "Whatever this means, we'll get through it together."
That was just the voice of God whispering grace to me in that moment.

I wish I could've been stronger.
I wish I hadn't crumbled.
I wish I could've seen the big picture in that moment.
I wish I could've had some big spiritual thought fill my tired brain.
Instead, I was very human.

At that moment I knew I needed help.
God's Divine help.
So, I stood in the hallway with Abby and Ashlyn (who were crying) and we prayed together that the Lord would help us get through this.
And I told my husband that he would have to call in to work the next day and let them know he couldn't come to work until we knew he was clear of lice.
I went to bed and hardly slept that night knowing what was ahead the next day, yet being uncertain how this would affect the plans we had had since the beginning of the year for the children to attend summer church camp that was to begin in only 5 days!!

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