Sitting in the floor of our playroom with my 17-month-old girl between my legs, I noticed a small new freckle/mole on the top of her head. As a melanoma survivor, this startled me and I began to look more closely at it.

It began to move.

I then started sifting through the beautiful, full head of brown hair that covers my baby’s skull and saw lots of tiny moving freckles all over her freaking skull.

Lice.

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I texted my husband a text message informing him of the situation. It was both inappropriate and heavily capitalized, but I mean, c’mon. How does a baby we have been keeping out of the church nursery since before Thanksgiving in hopes of keeping illness away get head lice? Her daddy and I didn’t have it. She has no siblings, and stays home with me. It’s one of those random questions I intend to ask Jesus one day. It doesn’t matter now where she got it, but I’m still really curious.

My friend’s daughter got lice multiple times in a row a few years ago. It got bad enough that she had a lice specialist (yes, that’s a thing) come to their home. I called her and she told me everything the specialist had taught her.

Based on her knowledge, my little family of three ended up at a hotel up the road with mayonnaise, tea tree oil, and shower caps on our heads followed hours later by the use of lice killing solution and a little comb that removes the eggs of these godforsaken creatures. Why a hotel? Well, because the specialist said lice die after 72 hours without a “host” so my logic was instead of fumigating our whole house and everything in it, to just leave the joint for three days and not risk missing one somewhere and starting this whole process over next week or next month. My husband liked this option better than the other option I proposed which was burning the house down.

Anyone who knows me knows that I am a clean freak and that lice and I aren’t gonna mesh well in any scenario. I was overwhelmed, grossed out, and teetering the line of my sanity at the initial discovery, but when my people and I arrived at the hotel on a random Thursday night, it became the greatest little vacation and unexpected treat. The “magic box” (elevator) and long wrap around hallways were enough to bring my shower capped baby enough adventure to keep her happily occupied for hours. She had the time of her life and brought her dad and me more joy than we possibly could have received had this “annoyance” not occurred. We swam and ate unhealthy fast food despite the 20 degree weather outside or the roasted vegetables I had prepped at home. We laughed at each other and took selfies in our matching shower caps. We danced and played in the bathroom sink and stayed up way later than we normally would have because lice treatments aren’t quick.

I found myself thanking God for giving my kid lice because it ended up being a precious blessing in disguise. It allowed us adventure, family time, and a lasting memory that I wouldn’t trade for anything. I quickly followed up that thank you with a prayer that all the lice and eggs be out, dead, gone forever. I don’t want them again, but their arrival forced this mama into a spontaneous and semi expensive long weekend that will forever be one of my favorite times with the people I love the most.

Abbie Dunlap

Abbie Dunlap writes about her personal experiences in hopes that others may be able to draw encouragement through reading about them. You can find her at https://abbiedunlap.wixsite.com/blog.