I got a call today. I didn’t pick up the phone because I was napping, but the answering machine is right next to my head ... so I heard the message.
“Hi Sarah ... it’s (Blank). Can you call me back as soon as you get a moment? Thanks.”
Sounds innocuous enough ... to the untrained mother’s ear. But I know that tone. It was a carefully calculated balance of “no one is dead ... but you should really call me.” I knew what it meant.
It was the call all mothers hate to make, and all mothers hate to receive even more. Had the reason for her call been anything else, she would have spelled it out in the message. Something like:
“Um ... Sarah? You know how (Blank) and (Blank) were playing so nicely yesterday? Well (blank) has a really high fever today. You might want to keep an eye on her.”
“Sarah? Hey, it’s (Blank). I just wanted to warn you I found a few red marks on (Blank’s) stomach this morning. It might be Chicken Pox, but I’m checking it out. I’ll keep you posted.”
“Sarah? Hi, it’s (Blank). I forgot to tell you, I backed over your child yesterday pulling out of the driveway. Sorry. Hope she’s okay!”
But “Lice” isn’t something you leave on someone’s message. The potential passage of lice is something that can only be verbalized directly. Something no one wants evidence—like a message on your machine—around to prove they’re connected to it.
Some moms don’t even call at all. Overly worried about social ostracism, they prefer to take the “One Playdate Stand” as I like to call it. Sure your kids had a play date together. Both kids enjoyed it. But now it’s over. Anything they take away from that “date” is yours to discover. Nice.
But, if your kids’ friends’ moms are decent, normal people, you get the call. Like the one I got. I knew I was right about her message so I procrastinated calling back for an hour or two. Then I had no choice.
So I called (Blank) back. “Hey! It’s Sarah. What’s up?”
Sure enough ... Lice.
I get itchy just thinking about it. In fact, I’m scratching my head right now.
So, we’re off to Hair Fairies right after school. We’ll ALL get checked out because I’m an anal retentive freak who hates Lice. But God knows, I’m grateful for the mom/friend who had the decency to alert me.
Damn. If only she’d ran my kid over instead.