It’s Not Your Fault

A few days ago, Reina came home with teary eyes saying she thinks she has lice on her hair. I looked at her and said, “No, you couldn’t have lice because I wash your hair every day. Lice is only for those who don’t wash their hair for several days.” I carelessly looked over her hair and all seemed fine. Then yesterday, she came home saying the nurse at her school looked over her hair and said she does have lice. And I get an email from her teacher saying that, “Yes, Reina has lice in her hair.”

WHAT!!!!!!!  But….!!!!  But I wash her hair every day. How could she??????

Well… turns out, it doesn’t matter how frequently you wash your hair because if someone near Reina has lice and if it jumps on Reina, then Reina has lice too. I’ve never seen lice so I had to google it. Sure enough, after careful searching, I found some nits on Reina’s hair. Then I checked Serena and she had a few too. We treated both of them following the guidance of the pharmacist and this morning, no nits were found.

This morning, I told both girls that it’s not their fault that they had lice on their hair and that there was nothing they could’ve done to prevent it. I said this to them because I didn’t want them to blame themselves for things that were beyond their control. I know Reina was scared (as can be seen from her letter to her Aunt Jenny, my sister) and cried because she felt like she did something wrong.

In life, things happen that are not our fault but we tend to blame ourselves. In fact, when I first had to accept that Reina and Serena had lice, I blamed myself thinking, “Did I not wash their hair clean? What did I do wrong?” But I didn’t do anything wrong. I washed them as any mom would. It’s not my fault. It’s not Reina’s fault. It’s not Cambodia’s fault. Things just happen that’s beyond our control and we just have to deal with it and go on. I told both girls that they may get lice again and it’s okay because now Mommy knows what to do. We’ll just treat it.

I hope my girls learned that lesson today. I know many things will happen that they can’t control. Each time, I hope they can rise above it and say, “I’ve done my best and yet this happened. Well, such is life. It’s not my fault and I must move on.”

 

며칠전 은서가 눈물을 머금고 스쿨버스에서 내렸다. “엄마, 은서 머리에 이가 있는것 같아요.” 그 말에 나는 “네 머리에는 이가 있을수가 없어. 엄마가 매일 목욕시켜주잔아. 매일 매일 목욕하는 아이의 머리에는 이가 생길수가 없어.” 그리고 대충 머리를 보니 괸찬아 보여서 걱정하지 말라고 했다. 그런데 어제 선생님에게 이메일이 왔다…은서 머리가 이가 있다고.

어떻게 그럴수가…!!!! 내가 매일 목욕시켜주는데…???

은서의 머리를 자세히 보니 몇개의 흰것들이 있었다. 그리고 은혜의 머리도 보니 몇개의 흰 것들이 붙어있었다. 결국 현실을 받아들이고 약사의 말에 따라 아이들의 머릿속 “이”를 해결해주었다.

오늘 아침 두 아이에게 이가 생긴것은 아이들의 잘못이 아님을 말해줬다. 은서는 이가 있다는 말에 무서워서 울기까지 했다, 마치 본인이 무엇인가를 잘못한것 처럼.  (위의 편지는 은서가 하와이에 있는 큰이모에게 쓴 편지다.)

우리는 인생을 살면서 우리 잘못이 아님에도 불구하고 죄책감을 가지며 산다. 사실 나도 은서의 머리에 이가 있다는 것을 인정해야할때 “내가 잘 못 씻어줬나? 내가 뭘 잘못한거지?” 라고 생각했다. 하지만 난 아무것도 잘못하지 않았다. 어느 엄마보다 더 깨끗이 아이들을 목욕시켜줬다고 장담한다. 이것은 나의 잘못이 아니다. 은서의 잘못도 아니다. 캄보디아의 잘못도 아니다. 그냥 우리의 컨트롤 넘어서의 일이며 우리가 할수 있는 일은 받아들이고 해결하는것 뿐이다. 오늘 아침 아이들에게 “너희 머리에 또 이가 생길수 있어. 하지만 그래도 괸찬아. 이젠 엄마가 어떻게 해결하는 법을 아니까”라고 말했다.

우리 아이들이 자신들의 잘못이 아닌일에 죄책감이나 죄의식 가지고 살지 않기를 기도한다.

 

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