Why do I, a bona fide Virgo, need a worm? Well, it is not actually for me. It is for Short. He has an important school project involving gardening that his teacher dreamt up and thought might be “fun” for the students (read: parents). Yep, the public school has it out for me.
I should be used to this by now. I mean, really. Tall just had to procure a worm for his class last week, so we have been through this before. (Tall’s worm though, uh, “didn’t make it”—his teacher’s phrasing—because Mommy was too stupid and told him to keep his worm in the special plastic container outside, where normal worms belong by the way. Apparently, Tall’s worm froze to death. Or went into shock. Or maybe he was just elderly.)
We do not want to have a repeat of this fun incident and the ensuing Blame Game (“You killed my worm, Mommy! I told you he needed to stay on the front entry table or in my backpack!”). No. We want this worm to live, or at least manage to wiggle a bit until it gets to school.
I should reveal here that The Husband helped Tall find that initial worm. The Husband has an actual garden with actual flowers and vegetables and plants, and he knows where/how/when to locate worms. Queen Virgo, ahem, does not.
Since The Husband has already left for work and Short goes to afternoon preschool, it falls on me, Queen Virgo, to assist with worm location, retrieval, and relocation to said plastic container (provided courtesy of public school, my tax dollars at work). I don’t really like dirt, and that is apparently where worms like to live.
Short and I get the giant metal shovel (that I have seen The Husband use) out of the garage and get to work. We dig up about fifteen patches of dirt around our large grassy yard in our quest for worm glory.
I have to face facts. No worms live in our yard.
This, as you can imagine, is a disappointment to Short. “But, Mommy, look harder! My teacher said worms live everywhere! Maybe you just killed them all with your heavy shovel!”
Clearly, he is a gifted child.
We set the shovel aside and begin to dig with our bare hands (Queen Virgo is not happy with this latest development, and, I assure you, will vehemently scrub her hands and fingernails with excessive amounts of soap very soon). We finally hit pay dirt (so to speak): we find not one, but two, wiggly squiggly worms.
Short is delighted. He does a little Worm Victory Dance of sorts. Then he names his special worms (“Wormy” and “Wormvar”—he obviously gets his creativity from me).
I (reluctantly) set his worms in their temporary worm house on the front entry table, the precise location that Tall had tried in vain to get me to agree on. There are breathing holes on the top of the plastic. Several small holes that, to me, look just about the right size for a determined worm to slither out of and escape into alternate locations around my house.
But I try not to think of any of that as I pack Short’s lunch.
A little while later, the school bus picks up Short. He is clutching his worms close to him, not wanting to drop them.
“Be careful of your worms!” I yell out as the bus pulls away. It is at this moment I realize: I am more mom than Virgo.
(“Mom: Originally Virgo”)