Squashing Piojitos and Insecurities

When I was little my Mom used to lay my head down on her lap and pick the lice out of my head. It’s one of my fondest memories of my childhood. It’s not your conventional type of memory. I mean I don’t have memories of my Mom and I laughing happily and running through the sprinklers in the summer. That’s just not my family. Instead I remember her hands opening up trails with my hair with a fine tooth comb as she hunted down the lice that I had gotten from someone in my 2nd Grade class at la Escuela Benito Juarez in Tuxtla Gutierrez, Chiapas. I used to love when she did this. It was precious time I got to spend with her. She worked a lot and sometimes I didn’t see her for days. Even now, whenever I drive to Las Vegas to see her I make sure to ask her, “Mama, me hace piojitos?” Sometimes she does and sometimes she doesn’t but it’s like our thing.

I remember this as I sit in my Anthropology class.  I’m listening to the professor review the answers to the quiz we just had and my fears are confirmed. I missed more questions than I expected. I always second guess my answers and I change them and most of the time the first choice was the correct one. I’m not a good student yet. I miss things, I second guess and although I take good notes I get distracted by the stuff that is really interesting to me and I spend a lot of time on those and neglect the rest. It comes back to bite me in the ass when I take quizzes or tests.

You have to learn how to organize the studying process! Why haven’t you done this? You should have studied more and better! Maybe you should stop running, it takes up so much of your time! You can’t go out anymore, don’t spend time on the phone talking to friends, get rid of facebook! Cut back on fun!

I keep berating myself throughout the class and finally the end comes and I approach the teacher and I engage him and ask questions because I read somewhere that that is what you’re supposed to do and I want to make sure to do things different this time. But I feel stupid doing it so I make it quick and dash out and as I’m walking to my car I feel the tears start coming and I work hard to fight them off because it’s really stupid that I feel like this about a quiz!

All I want more than anything right now is to lay on my mother’s lap and to feel her hands on my hair as she searches for the nonexistent lice and maybe she’ll tell me that it will all be okay and the pesky frustration will be gone before long and, crunch! She squashes one in between her fingernails just like she would squash my insecurities.

I’ll be on the road to Las Vegas to see her and my nephew and my sisters for a couple of days. It’s my nephew’s 2nd birthday. You can bet I’m taking all my books with me and trying get stuff done more effectively. And what’s the first thing I’ll say to my mom?

“Mama, me hace piojitos, por favor?”

I hope she says yes.