I’m brushing through Vivian’s hair when I see it. A big, greyish-white piece of something. Is it a wood chip? It doesn’t move when I run the brush over it so I take a closer look. That’s when I see the bloated body lodged in her scalp. It’s a wood tick, swollen like I’ve seen before on cattle, but never on my daughters. We get them frequently but usually pull them out before they reach this stage of bloody gluttony.
“Oh,” I say, measuring my response, as if I had just noticed a piece of lint.
I call Stan at work for some moral support, give her a piece of chocolate to suck on and lay her head in my lap. I brush away her hair and slowly extract the bulbous insect with tweezers, taking pains to avoid injecting bacteria into my daughter’s body.
I drop the tick into the jar and cap it quickly. “Here, do you wanna see what was in your head?” I ask Vivi.
She picks her herself off my lap and peers into the glass. No reaction. Then her eyes meet mine.
“Mommy, do people like it when they have bugs in their head?”
“Um,” I say, stalling for some reason. Obviously, the right answer is NO but I can’t bring myself to say it. Maybe it’s because she’s so sincere, with her bobbing pig-tails, looking for a cue on how to respond. At this moment I am acutely aware of my responsibility in shaping her world and am almost scared to say anything at all.
“Well,” I say, “what do you think? Do you like bugs in your head?
In ten years, I won’t have this kind of power. I know this all too well. Then I will wish and hope and pray that my influence will be lasting. That everything I say, stand for and believe in will stick. If I’m anything like the mom I am today, I will get in her face, ask her questions when she doesn’t feel like talking and remind myself of a desperate boyfriend. Funny how life works like this. When we’ve got power, it makes us uncomfortable; when it starts slipping away, we grab on tighter. Even when we know we need to let go.
Some other stuff happening around here…
Happy Canada Day!