Gifts are in the eye of the beholder. This morning, I got a worm.
The kids haven’t reacted well to Daylight Savings Time, which shouldn’t have been that high a hurdle. Monday: grumpy. Tuesday: grumpy. Wednesday…well, you get the point. By Wednesday, Mom was grumpy as well. So now it’s Friday and Kiddo3 still can’t figure out how to get out of bed, and instructions such as “Now put on your shoes” are unfathomably complex.
I finally got him and Kiddo4 out to the bus stop, where they proceeded to bicker. Bickering should be an Olympic sport, so I’d at least feel like a Tiger Mom in some respect. Yeah, it’s hard to listen to, but they’re training. They say you have to put in three hours a day to be an expert, but I think they put in five.
That’s when I saw the worm on the pavement. He was about six inches long at full extension and three and a half when retracted, and with purpose he was making his way from my neighbor’s lawn over to the grass on the other side of the sidewalk. I have no idea: maybe he was on the lamb and needed to get out of some bird’s jurisdiction. Maybe the rent came due and he was having an unexpected Moving Day. Regardless, he was crossing No Worm’s Land, and I said, “Hey, guys, take a look.”
Boys. Worms. Always a great combo. We all crouched and watched the segments of the worm expending and contracting as he pulled across. Kiddo4 said, “like a caterpillar,” and I pointed out, “he has no feet,” which my son found hilariously funny. How do you walk with no feet?
But here’s the coolest thing: while I struggled to remember my high school worm-anatomy (they do have anatomy) one of the other bus stop kids came over to watch. And I pointed out that by sitting where she had, her shadow was protecting him.
She whispered, “Then it’s really good I’m here. I’m saving him from the sun.”
The worm got across to the grass and began burying himself. The children were very concerned he wouldn’t make it all the way in if the bus came, that the sun would dry him out. I had to find a few tattered leaves from last Fall and make him a shelter.
But for those ten minutes, they didn’t bicker. They learned. They worked together. They found purpose in sheltering this feetless creature.
There should be a Worm Of Peace And Harmony award. Or something. He probably doesn’t realize what he did by crossing the road.