Thursday, January 15, 2015

2015: In Which Lice Appears to Be More Important Than Family News

Well, hello there 2015; I'm finally getting around to acknowledging your arrival.  We greeted you in the company of my parents with a champagne toast, fresh off the plane from a wonderful visit in the Caribbean with my brother’s family, where seven cousins, two extra aunties, as well as dogs, cats (both young and old and ailing*), guinea pigs, iguanas, geckos, and mosquitoes shared a house with a view of the sea.  We swam, ate, hiked, cooked, played football and baseball, talked, snuggled, and mostly just enjoyed being related and being together.  Tootsie soaked up love and attention twelve-fold. 

2015 opened with Middle Sis’s 3rd grade teacher’s resolution that There Shall Be No More Lice in her classroom (even she contracted the critters, poor lady).  I’ll be discreet and share that we were intimately involved in a lice intervention the day before school resumed, and it was only a week later that we received the teacher’s email of surrender:  “Lice Is Back.”  If one can conjure humor while managing the specter or reality of lice, there’s a certain comedy to be recognized in its effects on otherwise sane-appearing and level-headed mothers.  Creatures so tiny with such magnitude of power to bring successful, confident, resourceful women to their knees!  We join a sisterhood around the trauma of lice, a sorority of horror and sharing of remedies, with crying and raw-scalped children who are victims of and audience to the drama of slathering, combing, shampooing, laundering, drying, spending, rinsing and repeating. 

Lice is prehistoric.  Lice doesn’t discriminate.  Lice will never be vanquished.  It’s kind of awesome, and I mean that literally, how the little buggers maintain their hegemony over us, no matter how rich, educated, clean, willful, and powerful we think we are.  It’s only our Type-A vigilance, our determination, that keeps the villains from rising up in whole new civilizations, complete with hierarchies and alphabets.

[And here's where Big Sis points out with disdain that I've devoted more of this blog post on lice than I have on our trip to the USVI--Ed.]

Big Sis wants No Part of Lice, so while I was out of the house for a few hours one day, she helpfully stripped our couches, beds, and pillows and generated a mountain of (quite possibly) unnecessary laundry.  It wasn’t long after I recovered from my own grousing and folding of sheets and towels that our elderly dog’s bladder control surrendered.  Into the washer and dryer went multiple loads of dog bedding and towels.  And it wasn’t long after I committed myself to the cycle of dog clean-ups that our washing machine surrendered.  And it wasn’t long before the washing machine broke that Husband conveniently left town.  Right after that I recognized that Tootsie had Hand, Foot, and Mouth Disease.  Right after that our babysitter fell ill with a horrible flu.  Right after that Tootsie spent some time in my office at school.  Right after that I had my own cry right there in my office.  And my mother’s help and proximity became valuable AGAIN.  Not to mention her washing machine.

Meanwhile, Husband and Middle Sis were in Arlington, where his father was interred at the National Cemetery.  The special ceremony was on Husband’s birthday, and he was surrounded by a crowd of family members.  He and Middle Sis visited sites in Washington D.C., and bonded with cousins Middle Sis had never met.  The three of us who remained at home sent our hearts, and Big Sis worked through her disappointment over not attending and experiencing all the family bonding back East.    

And Middle Sis returned home last night with an eye infection* and was excluded from school today.  SIGH. 

Some weeks just bring more gifts than others.  I'm feeling gratitude that Husband is back, Middle Sis's eye is healing, Tootsie seems healthy, dog has puppy pads to pee on, we don't appear to have lice, and we've got a three-day weekend to purchase a new washer.