So yesterday, I ran through a Tick Nest. And I’ve mostly lived to tell about it.
First off. Like many rational Long Islanders, I have an irrational fear of ticks. We have a lot of them on our beautiful island and the nasty little things carry quite a bit of misery with them. Thankfully, in over twelve years of living here, our tick encounters have been very few. When Ellee was a baby, she had one on her leg and when Christian was five, he had what he called a “wiggly spider” on his stomach.
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All that being said, we know about them and we know to look out for them, especially when in a wooded area. So yesterday, when we drove over to Terrell River County Park for Christian and Ellee’s Cross Country practice, I thought I had come prepared. Wanting to save our kids from excessive Deet, I sprayed a homemade essential oil bug repellent all over everyone. We were by all accounts, good to go. Coach encouraged everyone to stay on the open path (to avoid ticks) and off we went.
During the practice, I ran with my amazing friend Toni. Her kids are also on the team and we were pretty proud of ourselves for running the course. We stayed on the paths, though some were more narrow than others and finished our two miles, happy and sweating. We all checked for ticks on our way out and thankfully were good to go. Or so I thought.
Later that night, just before getting ready for bed and after a nice hot shower, I looked down at my feet and noticed little specks of what I thought were dirt. Upon looking closer, I realized that those little specks had legs and then proceeded to freak out. I grabbed clear packaging tape and started pressing it all over my feet to get the baby ticks off. I’ll spare you the details, because I’m completely grossed out just writing this. Let’s just say that after about an hour I ended up with 20 stuck-on-tape nearly microscopic baby ticks and a full blown panic attack.
I did what I do when I panic. I freaked out near the verge of tears talking to my husband. I Googled baby ticks. I worried about every possible tick scenario. Then I called my sister. Then I Googled some more. Then I worried some more. Then I prayed. And finally I called my mom. It wasn’t my best night.
Thankfully, through Google I learned that I was not alone. That many a hiker or runner or dog owner have also encountered a dreaded tick nest. I also learned that most likely, the six legged baby ticks don’t carry the diseases of the eight legged grown ticks. And I learned that the tape method was the best way to get the ticks off.
And I write all of this to remind myself, that sometimes, baby ticks are going to happen. And fear is going to grip my heart. But being afraid doesn’t really do anything (except drive my husband nuts and raise my blood pressure). And living in fear empties my quality of life.
So, in conclusion. I’m pretty sure I got them all. And my goal for today is to be wise (by thoroughly washing and heat drying everything from our run yesterday) but not to worry. Which would be nearly impossible, except I know that God can help me in that area. I’ll keep checking (though not obsessively) to make sure none of those nasty things are still on me, but I’ll stop panicking every time I see a speck of dirt on my skin. And finally, I’ll order a nice tick repellent on Amazon and not worry about the deet content. Because we’ll still run on Cross Country days and with Christian starting to love running, chances are we will have many years of trail running to come. Thanks for reading my scary tick story. And to end, the verses that always encourage me when I worry:
“Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4:6-7