Zared and I would start the day with home cooked breakfast of his choice. He’d give me precious custom crafted gifts (or that resembled) he made at school. We’d go to the gym, grab some lunch, and either hang by the pool or go see a movie. These are my favorite kinds of days - relaxed with no expected itinerary. So even though Mother’s Days were chill, they were ALWAYS cherished, especially with Zared by my side. I was never the kind of mom that needed pampering on Mother’s Day. As a single mother of 12 years, being pampered is just something that we really don’t think about. And back then, Zared was far too young to understand the concept of “spoiling mom.” Now I can’t say that I’ve NEVER been spoiled on Mother’s Day. When Zared and I first moved to San Antonio, we lived with my sister (you know, because sometimes single moms need assistance). My brother-in-law would always have a little something like a card or a mini vase of flowers, just so I wouldn’t feel left out. These gifts extended into birthdays and holidays. Grateful is the only feeling that comes to mind. Since Isaac has been in our lives, Mother's Days are everything I’ve imagined they could be – relaxed, no expected itinerary, and SHOWERED with LOVE! The combination of Zared, Isaac, Ares & Athena (our dogs) has made my heart feel enormously full – a feeling I've only known since late. So yes, most Mother’s Days have been wonderfully pleasant, nothing too exciting, and nothing too outrageous. Except for this one specific year that has made a permanent mark on my brain… and heart.
When Zared was 9, we stayed with my friend Crissy for a couple of months (you know, because sometimes single moms need assistance). Crissy is a single mom of 2 kids so our relationship/partnership was a perfect blend of co-parenting, girl talk, and wine, A LOT of wine. Crissy is a great friend – the kind of friend that opens her home to you, kisses you on both cheeks, buys you dinner, takes you shopping, cries on your shoulder, and loves you unconditionally; now that I think about it, not all, but most of the women in my life have been this kind. Again, grateful is the only word that comes to mind.
Crissy is memorable woman therefore our Mother’s Day spent together is obviously just as eccentric. We woke up that morning with no expected itinerary, when her neighbor calls and invites us and our kids to come over for pool-side drinks and BBQ. Both of us, super excited, jump quickly to change in our swimsuits, wedge sandals, and floppy sun hats. We lather the kids in sunblock, and all jump in her Audi convertible to head to the neighbors.
A couple of gals were already sitting in lawn chairs while their kids splashed around in the water. Zared and Jason (Crissy’s son) jumped in the pool. Crissy and I nestled in a couple of lawn chairs, and shortly after, the neighbor’s husband was serving us drinks. It was a good day.
A couple hours of sipping on cocktails passed by and we were feeling fantastic! What a great Mother’s Day! Getting sun, watching the kids play, having drinks – I truly felt pampered. The moms and I swapped funny mom stories and laughter was endless. Our girlfriend Elisa told us that her 2 boys recently had lice. It was a horrendous mess. My sisters and I never had lice. Zared never had lice either so I've never dealt with a situation as this. Apparently she had to throw all of her sheets, blankets, and stuffed animals in a bag for 2 days before she could wash them. Then she had to disinfect everything, and then had to shave their heads, etc. What an inconvenience I thought. Who has time to deal with all of that?
Zared started feeling tired so he got out of the pool and came to lay with me on the lawn chair. He was still young enough for cuddles with mom. I miss those cuddles. I started drying his wet hair with a towel when I noticed little white dots in his hair. At first I thought it was the sun glistening on his wet, jet-black, hair, but as I looked closer, I noticed that they were in fact dots, and they were stuck on his hair, EVERYWHERE!! I immediately got grossed out and asked Elisa to look at it.
“Yup, these are eggs!” Elisa exclaims.
“Eggs? WHAT EGGS?” I gasped, and asked!
“Lice” Elisa laughs. “They’re lice eggs. We need to shave his head to see if any have hatched, and to see if he’s the Host.
Eggs? Lice had eggs? I thought they were just bugs that jumped from one head to the next! And a HOST? What does that even mean? Is there a specific lice giver that provides lice to nearby children? All this lice craziness had me BUGGING! My lack of lice experience made me feel lost. Luckily I was amongst seasoned moms that could properly guide me.
“Mom, why are we shaving my hair (scratches head)? I didn’t mean it. I didn’t mean to get lice. I promise I won’t get lice anymore. Please mom!!” Zared cries. Poor baby was just as confused as I. My heart went out to him. As I held his hands while Elisa shaved his head, I realized that perhaps Jason might have it too. We were living with them so it very well could have been possible. I felt overwhelmed with guilt that Zared could have given Jason lice. I felt like a bad friend and an even worse house guest.
“Crissy, we probably have to check Jason. If Zared has it he might have it too.” I said.
“Ewwwwww yuuuck! Hahaha!” Crissy laughs. “Ok, babe! Let’s do this!” She gives me a wink, clinks her margarita glass with mine, and we both take a drink.
We grabbed Ziplock bags from the kitchen to store the bugs, in the event that there were any. Keeping them contained was the best way to avoid future lice problems.
We found 3 bugs on Zared’s head. Prior to that I honestly thought only one bug could be present, I didn’t know several could live in there. Zared’s sweaty bald head made his face even cuter than it already was. He got up, brushed the remaining hair off his shoulders, and then jumped back in the pool. Overall he was a good sport.
We moved on to inspect Jason’s head. Now I don’t want to go into details, but let’s just say that if there were a host between the 2 kids, Zared probably wasn't it. Poor Jason had roughly 18 bugs in his hair. Come to find out, that was a standard amount. Later on the year we discovered that lice had grown into what was known as Super Lice - larger than normal size and harder to exterminate. It was a widespread epidemic happening in South Texas. Gross.
So here we are on Mother’s Day, buzzed and flushed from the sun, ready to tackle a lice infested home with 2 bald casualties at our sides. We drive back to the house to find Crissy’s 13 year-old daughter furiously scratching her head.
Crissy screams, “Heather! Grab the plastic bags! I’ll get the disinfectant!!”
Now, this recipe I’m about to share with you has nothing to do with lice on Mother’s Day, but it can put an end to Mom’s stressful situations because it’s sweet, fruity, delicious, and clean-eating. Perfect accompaniment for brunch any time of the year!
Gluten Free Banana Peach French Toast Casserole made with Essential Oils
1 loaf gluten free bread, chopped in chunks (I use udi’s brand)
4 bananas, peeled and sliced into pieces
3 medium peaches, chopped into pieces
2 ½ cups almond milk plus extra as needed
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3 tablespoons cinnamon
2 scoops of vanilla protein low in sugar and free from artificial sweetener (I use Thorne Research – plant-based or whey is ok)
A drop of Young Living Essential Oil Tangerine
A drop of Young Living Essential Oil Lemon
Pinch of salt
1 tablespoon stevia/truvia
Time: 8 hrs and 30 min Yields: 8
Take a casserole dish and generously coat the inside of the dish with coconut oil/spray
Chop and prepare all ingredients as listed above.
In a large bowl, combine eggs, coconut milk, vanilla, cinnamon, stevia, salt, both essential oils, and whey protein. Whisk/blend until well combined.
Arrange bread chunks, banana slices, and peaches in the casserole dish evenly.
Pour egg mixture on top of bread. Make sure the bread is submerged in the liquid. Add milk as needed.
Place it in your refrigerator overnight to soak.
In the morning, preheat your oven to 350 degrees.
Bake for 45 minutes.
Garnish with fresh blueberries and 100% Maple Syrup