This is what you do if you forget to buy crickets – again – and you've got some fire-bellied toads in need of a meal. This is what you do if you're a mom. You extricate yourself from warm blankets and comfy pillows. You shove your hands in damp earth before you've even had a cup of coffee. You ring in Mother's Day with mud and worms, so that a worried son can tend to his pets.
I did try to "worm" my way out of this task. When my son came upstairs early this morning, bed-headed and wearing his worried face, I sent him out to the garden on his own, with the commandment Get Thee Some Worms. I told him the most likely places to look. I told him no, we could not jump in the car and drive to the pet store to buy crickets, that that errand was not on my How To Spend Mothers Day list, and that driving there and back would take longer than digging around in our own back yard.
He came back in empty-handed. I sent him back out there on his own.
Twenty worm-less minutes later, he was starting to get panicky. He is a great pet-owner, and had reminded me many times that we were low on crickets, then out of crickets, and then still out of crickets. My bad, as they say. Anyway, he was getting pretty worked up about his hungry little ones and his worm-finding failure. So I got up and helped.
I enjoyed some strange gratification when I found worms rather quickly and got an awestruck "How'd you do that?" from my son. And I enjoyed some peaceful gratification when I saw how relieved and happy he was to have four fat worms to feed his flock.
I was cold, muddy, and notably, not sleeping in as I hoped to be on Mother's Day. But the crisp morning air smelled wonderful and the vegetable beds were lovely to look upon. And I made a child's worry dissipate, before I even had a cup of coffee.
You've done it too, if you're a mom. That's what we do. And I can't think of any better use of my time and talents.
And just in case I ever forget to buy crickets again, my son and I now know that the tomato bed is a veritable worm paradise.
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Happy Mother's Day to all, with particular apologies to the Mommy Worms whose offspring got eaten by our frogs early this morning.
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